Saturday, January 14, 2006

January 14, 2006: War


Our mother is beautiful
without makeup, with the round balls
of her cheekbones like crabapples
or plums, and her crooked front
tooth. But with a little
pencil to shade in the sharp arch
of eyebrows and bright red lipstick
she becomes
a black-and-white
photograph hung in a young man’s barracks
where in the early evening before dark
and after a green supper, one soldier lies
sideways on his cot facing her,
tracing the soft outline of her cheek
with one knuckle, three fingers from his lips
to hers and back. We will never be
so carefully memorized.

By Sarah Cummins Small. Published in The Willow Review, 2000.)

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