War Game

One day a vigil
light exploded in our hands
and glass ran in our veins
like fire
traveling up the capillaries
in rivers of pain.

And we lay down to die
deliberately like petals
falling from magnolias after rain
floating in our minds a green space
that remembered trees, grass,
supper at twilight, kind hands
and bells.

But for the children
nothing explained the blackness:
square on square of cinder
blocking a fortress in the precious air.
The children never connected this time
to a quiet life when water lay
like a pool under a shining tap
or first fruit unfolded its peel
as we sat on the porch with open eyes
at dusk.

The children only had this
broken place
in a fire storm
that rumbled on and on
for years.

Sister Antonia Lewandowski taught high school English in Stamford, Connecticut, and with plans to study at the Western School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts when this article appeared.

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