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Tuesday, March 08, 2022

8 MARCH 2022

by Mary K O'Melveny

Today, please celebrate all
the women we have lost.
In every war and cease fire.
On slaver’s ships. On thirsty
desert treks to walled borders.
In back-alley rooms without
anesthesia. Locked in basements,
without papers or escape routes.
Asleep in bed. Hitching a ride.
Nursing bruises or starving babies.
Our losses rise like mountain peaks.
Ukrainian women huddle in subways,
clutch children, family pets, a few
hastily gathered objects from lives
they will likely never know again
or tattered photographs of loved ones
they may never see again. Even in
safer worlds, friends die of causes
that repurposed money, refocused
attention could have remedied.
Some fade away from neglect,
inattention, dreams downsized
by school guidance counselors,
religious zealots, patriarchy.
Others drop dead without a whimper
on a sun-dappled afternoon. One friend’s
memories vanished by midnight
stroke; another’s by subtle daily
erasures. Open our mouths wide in
praise of all. Let songbirds loose.

Mary K O'Melveny is a recently retired labor rights attorney who lives in Washington DC and Woodstock NY.  Her work has appeared in various print and on-line journals. Her most recent poetry collection is Dispatches From the Memory Care Museum, just out from Kelsay Books. Her first poetry chapbook A Woman of a Certain Age is available from Finishing Line Press. Mary’s poetry collection Merging Star Hypotheses was published by Finishing Line Press in January, 2020.