Broken Sandals

By Hagemann, Helen | Hecate, January 1, 2002 | Go to article overview

Broken Sandals


Hagemann, Helen, Hecate


You drive to work, hear the falling of war

Horror, horror at arm's length

Heart too irascible, too helpless

To assuage this bludgeoning

Of New York streets

All you can do is sharpen the instrument

Appease this senseless act

In the life of a poem

Forgive, forgive these humble words, dear reader

That think only of a crying field

Dresses/suits drenched in goodbye

Arms crossed under cotton stars

You pen alpha and omega catches up

Moments in someone else's war

An assignment on personality

Brought you the Colonel, Perth surgeon

With a long term memory, his book

To war without a gun

He knew war, he said, like a doctor

Sewing back -- a man's face

Transient medico dodging sniper attacks

Shifting camel-humps of sand

Arguing at thin attention, behind wired huts

For rice to sate men's bellies

In this woman's body

I've known anger, mostly fury

Children slamming wire doors brought melodrama

Skirts protected their crushed knees

Of bewilderment

You offered anything in bed

For happiness --

While your arms lifted and imagined

Unzipping the sky

A sparrow falls

Is a poem, is a hint of death

But nature has no memory or fault

Half a bed is all you remember

Of thirty three years

You could loose yourself to a woman

An inn and a donkey

Follow the magi, some endearing star

But your heart wouldn't be in it

You'd only skirt the tracks in sandals

Bought from a second-hand store

Heaven never wanted it this bad

Laugh lines swollen in disguise

Polite sisters chewing veils of endurance

Like those burqa women

Too beautiful for words, hovering sand

In bazaar and stall

Like mythical eagles in dark sunglasses

Could there be some universal misery

Between lonely girls who want to soar above the date palm? …

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