by Lisa Lopez Smith

that morning

I remember screaming, why aren’t you breathing why aren’t you breathing why the stillness in her velvety nostrils, colty legs slick with amniotic fluids, the movement from when she was breathing and when she stopped was a line finer than I could comprehend; the mare unfolded her legs to stand and the realization that nothing more was to be done was a thick line and heavier than expected; except that same afternoon, exhausted, a mourning dove perched next to me, cooing, and I watched the clouds drift by and the swallows rocket by and the sun rays float by and the only thing to do was make dinner for the kids, drink some water, go to bed to just lie there wishing that this could be different, but there I am and a song for grief isn’t so poetic, what with all that wailing and my headache lasting until the middle of the night, of course it sounds strange, but it’s true— I lay there dreamlessly asleep like the one I lost, and some magic full of stars where her breath and my breath and sweet galaxies mingled, until I woke again full of breath and we moved her body to a new home, a spring, just waiting for resurrection

 ***

Waging Peace

In London
during a blitz—
Grandma recalled running home
with her father, dodging
cascading bombs
illuminating darkened streets.
Post-war devastation
pushed all my grandparents
to immigrate, and sixty years later
I too left my homeland
with young kids
seeking a better life.
I’ve never been a refugee
but the night they told me to
abandon my home,
leaving with only the children
fearing for stray bullets in a bad crowd,
I did. But I had somewhere to go.
I’ve held a dying baby.
I’ve been robbed by people I love.
I studied body language
to not get punched by drunks
and trained myself
to let insults roll off of me like water.
It’s impossible not to get soaked.
I’ve never held a gun before.
I’m trying to forgive myself
for things I never said I was sorry for.
I’ve taken in a lot of strays.
By now I can tell a gunshot from a firecracker
from a truck backfiring on the highway,
but the dogs can’t. Like my grandparents,
I too harvest vegetables from the garden,
and flowers.

 

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash