War Poet.ca - A CFAP Project by Suzanne Steele

lazarus (35)

I am a woman of war Lazarre
courage, fidelity, solid in me
solid. flexible as the best steel,
steel continuously cast
in the blast-furnace of this war,
the fragile fronts, home, away,
my courage stands, flexes,
percussion from the Karl G
does not frighten me,
the recoil of the 105mm
does not frighten me,
incoming, from the home front,
some bitche’s jealousy,
nor the real bloody deal,
does not frighten me.
I carry above my weight,
I do not fail, do not, cannot,
failure is not my vocabulary;
and I have seen your sisters,
the ones who rise at 0400hrs
to feed your army at Shilo
on their baby’s first birthday,
only a telephone call home,
and I have seen your sisters,
the ones who help you
—or your next of kin—
stay over-overtime, make sure
though they love you, want to cry,
when they watch the slow march,
your beret, badge, flag-wrapped coffin,
you’ll still be looked after, and everything
is signed and sealed, dotted I’s, crossed T’s;
and I have seen the woman officer
replen the HMVs, her men at the front,
just before they drove outside the wire
saying we’d follow you anywhere ma’am”;
and I have seen other women of war,
mothers of the villages, daughters
of the dead, the wife who holds faith
with a man who lost his mind back in ’06,
the sister who holds her breath;
and I see myself, in a mirror,
I who could never deny your nakedness,
the lightening bolt on your forearm,
illumined far too many nights
of our four-postered bed, like tracers;
I bore your weight, your tears,
witnessed you, as almond trees
witness long zhémey,
witnessed your words, words
written, spoken, like branches reaching
reaching, stretching, begging,
for frost to leave, to bud spring,
words you cried in your sleep— names—
and I never failed you, showed up
on time, heard you, my name
on your lips, spoken the length
of my spine, the nape of my neck,
for I am a woman of war, Lazarre
make no mistake, my courage, mon ami,
my patience, my fidelity is steel.

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The page you're reading contains a single diary entry entitled lazarus (35). It was posted here on January 29, 2012.


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