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Friday, March 06, 2015


by Allison Berry

In my bed, she explains how her arms
have hardened without her rifle. Her fingers and thumbs
homesick for a place no one ever intended
she call home. Home is pelts strung to drip
from guttering, her sisters
backsplashed by wood paneling,
their voices reaching the back porch as a melody.
No detail of sand or mission will ever make Iraq home
for me. Today, the president asked congress
for authorization, for ground forces.
I’m already homesick for her breasts.
I explain how my chest will empty, how the red pulse
will turn and drip. Congress goes on considering.
I take all her longing as a command.

Editor's Note: The proposed legislation Mr. Obama sent to Capitol Hill would impose a three-year limit on American action that has been conducted largely from the air and, while allowing Special Operations commandos and other limited missions, would rule out sustained, large-scale ground combat. It would also finally repeal the expansive 2002 congressional measure that authorized President George W. Bush’s war in Iraq. --New York Times, February 11, 2015

Allison Berry is working on her MFA at Queens University of Charlotte and is a Lecturer for the Women's Studies department at Pittsburg State University and the English department at Missouri Southern State University. Her poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming in such journals as The Minnesota Review, Sinister Wisdom, and Green Hills Literary Lantern. She is also a contributor to the anthologies To The Stars, Through Difficulties and Begin Again: 150 Kansas Poems. She lives in Joplin, Missouri, with her two children.