Nearly unreadable now, paper wrinkled
as her hands, veins of ink blurred by tears.
But she had the words imprinted in her
mind to recall when memories surged.
She need not know that a fellow soldier
likely persuaded him, loaned him paper
to write an apology of sorts—I wish
I’d not enlisted,
yet she perceived his special gift,
a declaration of affection, the only way
he could voice it, I miss you all,
tell the children hello.
He mentioned shrapnel in his shoulder,
minor wound he claimed. She clutched
the letter to her heart, transmitted warmth
of her body, like a bird hovering her eggs,
as though, like a Holy Eucharist,
its ink might turn to blood, transform
the paper to pulsing tissue,
grow lungs and start to breathe,
become a living presence nurtured,
resting safe against her breast.
Image: A Letter from Pvt. Charles H. Austin, Civil War soldier
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.
Continue reading Soldier’s Wife – Poem by Wesley Sims
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.
Continue reading Sister’s Keeper – Poem by Wes Sims
credit card snatched,
nor driver’s license,
nor picture ID.
Not her universal number
intercepted on the Internet.
Not the checkbook swiped
while her head was turned,
nor bank account number
pilfered from a pile of trash.
Continue reading Identity Theft – Poem by Wesley Sims
He learned to hate at an early age
everything green spooned onto his plate.
It repelled as if monsters
curled on the dish lying in wait
to inject their slimy poison.
Continue reading Taste of Change – Poem by Wesley (Wes) D. Sims