Mostar,   Mostar Anguished Woman , Anguished Woman on a field of Words, The Stars That Disappeared,   The Man that Climbed out of a Hole, The Killing, continues my present direction of  narrative imagery; written and illustrated works - part of a book of illustrated poems in progress.  

Mostar, anguished woman

The gleaners came 
sweeping the fields of yesterday's grain
planted to cover the years of rage 

one would uncover 
part of a hand or foot
nestled in a root of a twisted limb
or the beets  that were to be taken 
to market

the fields covered
the broken limbs of faith
and the holy ashes of rot

on the hill she appears
on the slag heap of the righteous
naked, her milk gone,
her children gone,
her womb empty

she gnaws at her flesh and bone
as not to scream out
she will be there    
until memory is gone.

The man who climbed out of a hole

They watched at a distance
unable or unwilling to get too close 
they thought perhaps
we too 
might fall in
and what looked like a man
half in and half out of a hole 
his head resting on his arm
appearing not to move
seemed to be frozen in place

they stood at a distance
afraid to see
his eyes were like bits of glass
worn smooth
pieces of wood and straw covered him
he was the ground      
and the ground was he

his eyes blank 
and his body frozen    
as if he were spit upward
as he tried to escape from a depth
only imagined by each of us
as we silently watched

better not watch, better not think
he is as still as the dead

at the end of the day 
the tide came in       
and filled the hole 
with all that was living 
and washed the sand away
and washed the man away
until there was nothing

nothing remained 
just the shells, the seaweed
and the occasional crab
that filled the hole.


Darkness fell upon the fields 
seeping into them as a mist        
and into the forests and homes
upon the crops and into the fruit 
and into the wombs of women and into their fruit  
and into the hearts of men
into the rushing waters that form the streams and rivers
into the rolling hills and crops that feed us
into words forged and twisted
like hot iron from blast furnaces for our boots
the hob nailed boots so we wouldn't slip
as we took aim when we climbed the hills 
and lived in holes among fields of corpses 
among the twisted and shattered limbs 
of trees and men

in the great mountains and ravines      
that hold the graves and unmarked sites
on the rolling hills that hold flocks of sheep and goats
the white walls of hill top stone houses celebrate
with red bougainvillea pouring down from balconies
covering the outrage embedded into the walls
rolled hay dot the fields like shell casings

the once neatly ordered stone houses
their roofs gone and beams exposed
blackened from the flames, the walls shot away
exposed what is now left
a structure now disemboweled from a terminal disease
the shame of it all

it covers the falling down stone houses and the graves of men
it covers the fields and flowers in baskets by doors 
and the split firewood waiting to be used   
it covers the hills dotted with hay racks and rolled up hay
covers the goats and sheep         

it falls from the hilltops exploding upon impact
shattering the lives of the living and once living     
they remembered and their children remembered
their names become just memory now

in the early morning she said to me:
"Did you see the stars last night, there were so many?"
I went to the window
the clouds had rolled in and covered the sky   
as the darkness fell upon us once again.

The sounds of morning

It can be the silence 
before things stir and unfold their music
to bathe in the tender glow of the sun's first rays
the morning light

it can be  the soft sounds of insect wings 
the rustle of leaves
or the imperceptible movement of a flower 
to face the sun, if you listen

the flight of a single bird, the flash of faded wing 
that settles among fallen leaves, 
with veins that trace the journey 
from seed to song to worm,
and gathers in the last burning rays;
the growing of tree bark if you listen, takes years 
so does grief,  take years 

the silence 
when we have no more words or sounds to make
when we listen to what still moves us
into tears  
voices soft and forgiving,  perhaps in time forgotten
like a tree that is scarred, covered with rings of bark 
and forgotten,  we are scarred
covered with time.