11:43 AM Posted by James Owens


Memory of War

When lightning wallowed in the orchard’s lap—
that quick, raw violence from the clouds almost
offhand, it seemed to us whom the hard crack
knocked out of sleep, guessing—we went and touched
the ruined tree as if it asked for touch
or fed a human hunger for broken things:

a bright smell of stripped apple wood whetted
the dawn air, as last ends of storm lit up
the shattered limbs and naked spines of trunk,
pure white against the winter leaves’ worn black,
a sharp smooth architecture of weapons, aimed,
right then, where we stood, sky-threatened and new.



Sorlil said...

'or fed a human hunger for broken things' - what a line, very strong.

James Owens said...

Thank you, Sorlil.

sam of the ten thousand things said...

An amazing opening line, James. Touching the ruined tree is a strong image. The "broken things" strikes me as a connection to the notion of pleasure/pain. Your use of sense language throughout, but especially in the second stanza, is beautifully written. Great piece.