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A novel in verse … and the writing thereof
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Split Bodies

Even the arrival of another boatload of wounded could not break this spell.

I think we greeted them

     more gently even than usual.

Certainly, they smiled more.

The body

clenches against pain;

the men would reach us

exhausted.

They tightened muscles,

     holding together their own wide wounds, straining to

pull closer the far edges of

     the world’s widest ocean.

These arrived with jaws and brows

less tightly knotted. They’d found

something to celebrate, even

before reaching us.

“They’ll still die, some of them,” Florence said,

     ever the realist.

I laughed. “Thanks for the reminder.”

“Well, you all act like you’ve forgotten,

     like the laws of biology have been suspended.”

“There’s the healing power of hope,” said Daisy.

“Now the war’s over, that’s

stronger than ever.”

“Well,” said Florence, “I don’t suppose

you’re planning to hand out

little vials of hope

in lieu of penicillin.” She stalked off.

“What’s eating her?” Edna wondered.

Rose had her hands on her bony hips.

“Whatever it is,” she said,

“it’s got sharp teeth.”

Daisy shook her head. “She never got over

     her fiance’s death, in Africa.”

“It’s as though

     she resents the end of the war,” Jane marveled.

“Well, yes, because now

     everyone’s happy but her.”

“Misery loves company,” Rose nodded.

“But, Daisy,” Edna objected, “a lot of us lost men.”

“Well, some recover; some don’t. Just like two men

     with the same wound. One dies, one survives.

Who knows why?”

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