Wesley Sims has published two chapbooks of poetry, When Night Comes, Finishing Line Press, Georgetown, Kentucky, 2013, and Taste of Change, Iris Press, Oak Ridge, TN, 2019. His work has appeared in Connecticut Review, G.W. Review, The South Carolina Review, Liquid Imagination, Pine Mountain Sand and Gravel, Breath & Shadow, Plum Tree Tavern, American Diversity Report, Artemis Journal, Poem, and others.
We relish lounging by the lake,
watching emerald waves lap
the shallow, grass-lined shore,
summer breeze caressing our faces,
nestled under canopy of oak leaves.
Hearing the cluttered world stutter
and slow its mind-numbing whirl
on a tilted, groaning axis.
She’d stopped counting the weeks and months
the stingy calendar doled out. Diminished
by tears, her anguish had dimmed some,
feelings that had raged like rain-swelled rapids,
about how he enlisted, leaving her and children
like orphans. Recruiters had pumped him
with speeches and patriotic songs, pretty
girls and liquor. But he would learn, verse
by daily verse, the gospel of war she’d taken
on testimony and faith—that war makes
a terrible mistress, tempting men with glory
and glamour, but feeding them empty bellies,
weary bones, bloody memories and mangled
bodies, and if fate chose them, a ticket home
with traumatized minds or missing limbs.
She paced the floor, hands wringing,
babbled to herself, sometimes tossed words
toward us that might or might not make sense.
Not unlovely, she hid her attractive figure
in simple cotton dresses, and coiled
her long, brown hair in an old-woman bun.
Floated in her own world, like a butterfly
in a conservatory, from one hallucinatory
bloom to another.