He is a dead verb. Was.      I used to say
                                               a prayer each night to God, hoping
                                               he would die because
what else does abuse ask of us?  :   Looking for something
                                               to replace the grenades inside of
                                               him  :  Heroin addict. Dope sick.
When he learned parts of the Spincourt Forest are still so dangerous
                                               the French sealed them off,
                                               ground littered with unexploded
                                               shells & strewn with barbed wire
                                               and filled with arsenic:
                                               his emotions : a rifle on the wall
                                               gone off.
Shells & iron buried in ground         :      He—made into ground.
                                                  He—seed bearing organ.
Shells & gunpowder     :        The pistil the ground the seed
                                                holds life, or
                                                 the brown spoon or just his body.
I carried life for him
juxtaposed his dead  :               my landscape collecting
                                                                   all of these bodies.
Caused by men, their made-up wars    :      Caused by heart war.
Unexploded shells           :             His artilleries bleeding me white.
Ground filled with barbed wire and arsenic    :       I suffered
                                                                     the threat of
                                                                     ripened shells.
Farmers are still turning them over.    Over.     :      To the white mares who listen,
shell-shocked.                        :                               Shell-shocked.
In a ground dotted with bodies      of nothing but dead bodies,
                                              with more to say.


Stephanie Bryant Anderson earned her B.S. in English and Psychology from Austin Peay State University. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Passages North, Birmingham Poetry Review, Mid-American Review and others. Her chapbook Monozygotic | Codependent (2015) is available from The Blue Hour Press. Currently Stephanie is completing an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling.