Peasants Around Small Fires

flames orange their eyes
the life
inside
their worn faces

one, cooking slim fish,
manages a silenced name—

God

he says
with frightened pleasure

God
and again
God

like so, like that

while waters came—

the current language of water there
at their boats
moored
to the trees
by the banks of Yaroslavl

God
with winds letting loose
against evening
pushing
a slow mist upon everything—

God he continues
God

until they stand,

they all sing
barely seen
unsecreting

the new sound of their bodies.

Therése Halscheid teaches creative writing at Atlantic Cape Community College in New Jersey. Her poetry collection is titled Powertalk.

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Sojourners Magazine January-February 2002
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