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Berkeley / Los Angeles / Ireland
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by Ward Stothers

Toppled                      in Moscow Park

Burnished steel          forgotten flesh

Sleeping on his side    kindergarten knees use him for a lunch time drum
                                 as they tag and seek around the grassy mooring
                                 sit and sing on his dry dock stillness
                                 raising voices of genocide all called grandpa.

Once a fire                 now a wick with curls of smoke
Blessed only               by passing dogs who smell, bow and dispatch
                                  ignoring entreats to arrest, try and shoot
                                  darting off      no necks in leash
                                  panting their pardons     pack in liberty.

                                  birds land
                                  promenade on his bare neck torso
                                  cooing freedom atop rusting apparel.

What once was
What used to be          a fever in armor      polished might
                                  dressed in a litany of fitful, echoing credos
with                            a hammer for hands
                                  pounding innocent grain  purging helpless chaff
and                             scythe in arms       fingering throats of pausing breath
                                  counted our each remaining thought for us.
                                  hard we swallow with naked genuflections
                                  and tolling heartbeats.

                                  kulak arms collect government grain
                                  as peasant blood washes down
                                  already clean cobblestone streets
                                  meandering along
                                  knocking   at ten million sealed doorways.

Now fell                      life lunches on evil’s gullet
                                  dropping crumbs that death can’t swallow
                                                                        that evil won’t eat.
                                  knee socks eat crackers and cheese in silent gala
                                  homing safe in freedom’s silent night.
                                  the children leave scraps of cling wrap
                                  plastic, that rusted scythes can’t course.

                                  the school bell tolls as the children chorus
                                  “ashes, ashes they all fall down”.


Copyright 2002 Ward Stothers