V  P  R

Contemporary Poetry and Poetics




Crooked River curves
and my dog Bryna rests
against my back.

As a child my mother
told me stories of war.
Today her words ripple
and delete sleep from my eyes.

Here there is no barking.
Breaths are quiet.

Alanson is a Michigan town,
miles from sounds and memories.

Animals hide, and grow wild.

Everyone packs redness in their eyes
and dreams the night is calm
without howling.

My German mother remembers
body parts hanging from trees
and faces agape with incomplete smiles.
She tells me of identification
by nail polish.
She remembers a jar
filled with child bones, and a shoe,
above an empty slab haunted by bodies.

is shown in pieces.

Shouts of murdered people
lift white smoke into the sky
and leave dust on her window.

Human ash is grass-covered now.

Dogs die

Broken dolls fall into mud and face war.
Dolls and victims
are at someone's mercy.

Silencing is a weapon.

© by Christina-marie Umscheid


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