The poet’s memories of war wear him down 

 

 

He stands isolated

in a dancehall packed with laughing strangers

and, like last time, like all the times,

holds himself tight against what might

happen, but never does, never shows its face.

 

Drums beat the earth under him

brass horns pulse against his chest

her body is hot and fluid, a river

of music pumps thoughtless pleasure through him,

she is the liquid hot forgetting of

vodka he sweats out soaking his clothes,

he drinks her deeply.

 

But in the vacuum between songs

he remembers the children, God! what

has been done to the children!

It lacerates his breast, sears his brain,

old bombs explode, ripping his guts,

there is nowhere to go, nowhere.

 

Nowhere in the press of panting bodies

to sop up the memories,

put pressure against the bleeding, he

reaches for her, the strand of life he tangles into,

his hand lands on the close shore

of her cool running river, she stops,

has seen the flash

of fire rockets in his eyes.

                              

They are stranded, lost together for

an endless moment, silent, suspended,

music returns in soothing waves,

singing the moon, he dives into her

pleasure of mindless movement,

collateral cries and moans of war float into silence again,

he is free once more for another interlude.

Sharon Lopez Mooney, Oh, Children of War, in Visible, ed. Stephanie Drenka, featured in Visible Magazine, online, May 26, 2021, Dallas, Texas,  https://visiblemagazine.com/chasing-the-trail-of-endings/

Sharon Lopez Mooney, published poet, Interfaith Minister, spiritual coach