Widowhood

She wove the veil
of her widowhood
with thread from his shroud.

Samuel Menashe


An Inside Job

I thought our problems had a foreign name
as when Alaric vandalized the late
Eternal City to inaugurate
the end. For us, the fall is much the same:
uncivil hordes press in upon the tame;
lean wolves sniff at the walls and salivate;
catastrophe pours through an unlocked gate.
Barbarian invasion is to blame.

But, even then, the real destruction was
an inside job. The East, Praetorian
intrigues, protecting Egypts vital farms:
the Empire needed weapons for each cause.
Rome’s buildings fell to ruin only when
their metal ties were melted down for arms.

Robert W. Crawford

The Bones of the Armenians

Not the trump of Gabriel, nor the tumult

Stirred up by a clamorous resurrection

Can awaken bones from that desert nightmare’s

Prodigal torment.

Not the prayers from myriad begging voices,

Solemn penance chanted by dirging fathers

In atonements chorus of expiation

Cleanses the blood-guilt.

Neither screaming pleas of a gang-raped mother,

Nor the pistol shots to the heads of children
Rouse them out of somnolence. Nothing serves to
Summon avengers.

Just the dumb remembrance and silent breathing
Of those few survivors who still can picture
1915’s Golgotha, red with murder,

Waiting for answers.
Joseph S. Salemi