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Saturday, December 19, 2009


by Mary Dingee Fillmore

It's always urgent. Like poison, only a few
more drops will end whatever war it is
this time. Drops which now swirl in human
vessels, veins. We count only our side's bodies,
and even that is unbearable, even smothered
in flags. Go and walk there, among their graves.
Watch the woman in a dark coat wring her red
hands, blow her red nose. Walk the battlefields,
where the dead killed and were killed, under
orders. Show me the bomb that smashed
the White House columns, the President
who lost his arm that night, and his daughter,
and his clean sleep, forever. You know
the man I mean - it's always a man -
the one whose voice says "We have to go in
and finish. The generals need more troops."
When did they not? Crimea? Ticonderoga?
Vietnam? I can't remember if I'm twenty
or forty or sixty. Maybe eighty. In fact, I don't
know if my name is Mary or my mother's
or my grandmother's, or even if I'm Canadian or
German or Afghani. I just know
I've heard it all before.

Mary Dingee Fillmore earned her M.F.A. at Vermont College in 2005 after a twenty-five year career in organizational development and a hidden life as a writer. Her poetry has appeared in Upstreet, Pearl, Diner, Westview, Main Street Rag, Pinyon, New Verse News and Blueline
among other venues.