How long did it take
turning battlefields into blooms?
Nourished from fallen soldiers,
clutching hearts not their own.
Nameless warriors, yesterday’s schoolboys
with combed hair and brushed teeth.
Given bayonets, helmets and cigarettes,
whispering to their mamas as they
colored fields with their death.
Write about what you know, they said. But when she wrote about the hollow pull of loneliness and the fear she felt when walking alone they said no, no that is self-indulgent, and unfair on the many men who do nothing to warrant fear, even late at night when the bulbs in the streetlights are broken and the shadows run across the pavement like foxes. So she wrote about dragons and magic instead, and they praised her humor, her lyricism, and her vivid imagination.