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Saturday, February 11, 2023


by Anne Harding Woodworth

Support the rescue efforts of the White Helmets.

     a prayer of sorts, Tuesday, February 7, 2023, 4:30 a.m.

In the quiet of this early morning, he’s left our bed
and walked into the hall, then to the kitchen
probably to get a “swig of klim,” as he calls it.
I move my foot over to his side just to feel the warmth

he’s left behind. At that moment, I know how survivors
in Turkey and Syria are shivering, reaching for warmth

where there is none, no lingering vestige of a spouse,
parent, child, no body next to them that said, “I’ll be right back.”

Buildings have fallen, din deafened, and then silent,
as snow passes into illicit spaces, upside down rooms,

and chairs drop into cold chasms of confusion,
terror, and pain with no one there to explain

what has happened. This is nightmare, a woman thinks,
held down in darkness between two concrete blocks

with one leg bent the wrong way. I tell her I am coming
with a blanket and lamp, but that too is dream

and will never happen. When he comes back to bed,
sweet-smelling of milk, I move closer to him

for his warmth, seeking comfort and more air
for those still breathing, buried deep in the rubble.

Anne Harding Woodworth is the author of eight books of poetry and four chapbooks. Her recent collection is GENDER: Two Novellas in Verse, which was a Literary Titan Silver Award Winner. Her chapbook The Last Gun won the COG Poetry Award and was subsequently animated (at Anne is a member of the Board of Governors at the Emily Dickinson Museum in Amherst, MA, which is opening soon after two years of restoration.