THE WARTIME ISSUE
Moments after sunrise the sky flares pink.
No snow in the street, but the trees are bright with it.
I've always loved winter for the way it sets off beauty,
each scene opening like a child's advent calendar –
here and here – onto something small and hopeful:
red vines in a tangle beside a neighbor's porch,
black squirrel near the chimney, its tail a kind of smoke.
How eagerly we once bent back each tiny numbered square
to find the world behind the world, the world of signs
within it. We were children, not mystics – dizzy
with excitement in the short days near the solstice.
Last night in a nightmare, I leaned across a map of war,
squinting to read symbols by the roads and towns and rivers.
Ease one window open and watch a truck explode.
Another for a narrow bridge with people jumping from it.
Roadside fire. Ruined market – clinic, depot, mosque.
The dead fill every box as the count keeps climbing,
and who knows what's under the final number
hidden in plain sight at the center of this war?
Jody Bolz is the author of A Lesson in Narrative Time (Gihon Books, 2004). Her work has appeared in such publications as The American Scholar, Indiana Review, JAMA, Ploughshares, and The Women's Review of Books –and in many anthologies. She is an editor of Poet Lore, America's oldest poetry journal.
Published in Volume 7, Number 2, Spring 2006.
Read more by this author:
Bolz: The Museum Issue