To Remember

Today is the ten-year anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq. Here is a version of one of the poems I wrote during that time, published in TOTEM. The photo is of the "I HATE WAR" sculpture at the FDR Monument, Washington, DC.

Last night, the ultimatum.
We hold our beloveds and wait.
Flowers in our courtyards
are too fragile
for these days.

Wind whooshes hard ice
parting my hair
so my scalp stings
as I pull aching shoulders
up around my neck.
Petunias hunker down
in the stark light
of an azure sky
that seems too bright
to be ironic.
Everywhere flower bursts
are pushed down,
almost flattened
against the brittle ground
by a searing cold.

After the fires, there will be
monarchs boasting,
dead sons and daughters
--all of them ours,
and even the flowers
will be drenched
in humanity’s shame.

For your journal/discussion:  War, Ultimatum, Fragile, Stings, Brittle, Searing, Drenched, Shame. Choose one word, write for 3-5 minutes, or longer. Then choose another...and another. Use all your five senses, or as many as you can. Then read what you wrote. See if you have the beginnings of a poem. ("Petunias" originally appeared in TOTEM, the visual and literary arts journal of the California Institute of Technology.)