This is not an American cemetery,
grass does not grow here;
the place is centuries old —
wind-scoured, raw as a scratched
thigh, and who is left to mourn
but abandoned mothers —
black crows on the smashed landscape,
heads jutting, eyes half-open, palms
cupped as if expecting water,
but no, instead tears
sputter into vacant cisterns.
The women beat their breasts,
become one enormous wail
and the sun in its gown of rust reflects
on them and the disgust and dread
of nothingness. Here I imagine myself kneeling,
my own son laid like an insult
in the broiling sand, the stench of earth;
it would be finished then;
I would be torn down the middle — so how would I
with my whipped insides blown out,
return to the burning city, to an unknowable
sleep under a barrage
of bullets like a butcher’s cleaver
striking bone? Grief and rancor
would be a heavy chain
riveted to my hands
because I would be sick
of the law of tyrants, of sacrifice,
of blood everywhere, of hope….
No more. Nothing to explain.
Rendered silent, chastised, I would lock the iron gate,
sit against the blind walls
of my house and close the book of Life
if this war snatched my child.
Author: Leonore Wilson
Leonore Wilson's poetry collection,Western Solstice, is available from Hiraeth Press.