Invasion, 1991

Beside the river, ash
rose like a funnel
in air, the earth cracked β€”
petrified tree roots,
the wall of an ancient city,
deep veins of lapis, arteries
of molten blood.
I stood on shore as the fish
inched out of the water
and lay shining in the mud,
a thousand fresh-struck
pennies. An old sloop
drifted past. On it,
a tall woman, standing,
calling as if to a child
but by a name
I never heard before.
Downstream, the boat
seemed to move faster,
loud wails snaked
through the canyon.
The sky turned purple
as bruises. One red bird
flew out of a wound
that had been the horizon.


Susan Kolodny

Author: Susan Kolodny

Susan Kolodny's poems appear in New England Review, Beloit Poetry Journal, and other journals and several anthologies. She is the author of After the Firestorm (Mayapple Press, 2011) and The Captive Muse: On Creativity and Its Inhibition (PsychoSocial Press, 2000). She can be contacted at

1 thought on “Invasion, 1991”

  1. [Author’s note] We had rented a beach cottage on the coast of California north of San Francisco, wanting a few days of ocean and sea birds. Instead we sat watching the news coverage of the US invasion of Iraq, invasion 1. Though we finally turned off the news and went out and walked on the beach, it was difficult to ignore what we’d seen of the bombing. I wrote “Invasion,1991” that weekend between newscasts and walks along the Pacific.

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