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Friday, June 07, 2019


by Elya Braden

Above the meadow
a sky so blank you could scrawl
the story of your heart
a wordless prayer
but where is God now
in a field bloody with poppies?
Their orange-red heads bob contentment
in the timid breeze
like the limpid heads of those addicts
slack-jawed in lawn chairs
perched on the corner
of oblivion and never.
Those orange-red poppies
so innocent
of the conflagration they’ve matched
to the multitudes of walking
wounded, mute-mouthed
limping, scrambling
at the empty rattle of one
last Vicodin in the bottle
the Doctor’s No
the friend who has a friend who has
a needle. Is God there—
that slant shadow passing
between the poppies
sunning themselves in paradise
their orange-red heads
nodding: Here is a door,
your way out.

Elya Braden took a long detour from her creative endeavors to pursue an eighteen-year career as a corporate lawyer and entrepreneur. She is now a writer and mixed-media artist living in Los Angeles. Her work has been published or is forthcoming in Algebra of Owls, Calyx, Gyroscope, The Main Street Rag, Rattle, Willow Review and elsewhere.