Poem by Virginia Smith
Photo by Ariel Magidson

[poppy red]

A soldier in World War II brings
            a German bride back to America,

but he does not love
            women and she stays locked

her whole married life in a
            language she cannot learn.

Spring geese overhead, skeins of winged
            calls that bank north and disappear –

There are children who leave and don’t
            come back, even when the mother dies

and the father’s health fails. What kind
            of children are these? people ask, who

still consider the husband a kind man –
            remember, the wife spoke only silence.

a cardinal blooms on dark 
            yew, a poppy-red wound –

What kind of children? you ask, and I
            look away – I have already shared

what I know, and there is nothing one
            will not do to another, again and again.

first scatter of robins and birdsong,
            myself among them, as someone

so nearly me has always
            been, ready to step into air. 

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