Christina Pacosz

The Mother of Violence

Now I am seeing
the natural blackness
of this world
not only objects
illuminated by light.

How to measure the darkness
lingering beneath the trees –
the imported silk, the native oak –
even as their upper-
most branches

are a green blaze
in the sun.
Remember the iridescent
plumage of the hummingbird
is black

without the light.
Black like a branch
bereft of the life of the living
leaves, charcoal waiting
for the flame.

This is not the time
for debate: which came first –
the light, the dark
but recall how shadow
is at the beginning

before the word.
The vinyl appliqué
a black silhouette
of a hawk
on the window.

A warning for birds
to stay away.
How the shadow
of the predator
troubles the dreams

of its prey.
The swift darkness
of the mongoose
darting across
the blacktop road

on the path
of lava erupting
from the molten void
at the center

of the earth.

In the Garden

“In Baquba a woman and her four children were killed when a bomb went off in a neighbor’s house bringing the ceiling down on the family sleeping in the garden.”

A hot house in Baquba
Only a week after Zarqawi is killed
The stars shining like lanterns
In the night sky
Jasmine scents the air
Figs and tomatoes ripen
In the warm dark

Here in this country I am even now trying to reach this family

A woman and her four children
Buried under bricks and debris
From the ceiling of the bombed-out
Neighbor’s house
It is too late to rescue them
Too late when they closed their eyes to sleep
On pallets near the cucumber and chard

“The Mother of Violence,” first appeared in Kritya April 2007

"In the Garden” first published in Downgo Sun, March 2007

Christina Pacosz has been writing most of her life. Her most recent book of poetry is Greatest Hits, 1975-2001, Pudding House, 2002. (A by invitation only series.)

(author retains copyright)