THE WARTIME ISSUE
When the news comes on, a square of night
snaps with ragged fire, or there's more
bloody damage in harsh sunlight.
Some city or god-forsaken road.
Then I turn to brew coffee, scramble up eggs,
click the off buttons, head out the door.
Subways, offices, the human chorus
in concert. Nobody mentions the war.
That brick I picked up from a thousand
laid in rows by a sculptor on a lawn
in New Hampshire last fall – it was
the third one from the beginning,
the third of the "personnel" killed.
I knelt down, unwrapped the black cloth,
and read the data taped to the back:
23, from Buffalo, my home town.
I hardly ever think of that now.
I don't remember his name. I remember
the boy in that Robert Frost poem turning away
just a second as his sister called "Supper"
and a snarling buzz saw bit off his hand.
Everyone there by the sister turned away
from the darkened pulse. They had their work, there
was evening, they were alive, and cold kept falling, burying.
Rosemary Winslow lives in downtown DC and teaches at Catholic University. Her poems have appeared in Poet Lore, The Southern Review, Crux, 32 Poems, and other magazines, and in Voices from Frost Place and other anthologies. She has received two Larry Neal Awards for Poetry, and writers' fellowships from the District of Columbia Commission on the Arts and The Vermont Studio Center.
Published in Volume 7, Number 2, Spring 2006.
Read more by this author:
Rosemary Winslow: The Whitman Issue
Winslow: Evolving City Issue
Winslow: Split This Rock Issue