Behind Lines

by Oonah V. Joslin


On fields in France
harlot hills in the pocked earth
lie with virgin deaths in mud.

Rank beneath poppy skirts
war sent to deflower
and draw youth from its shell.

Poppies are not fragile flowers.
They like disturbance of the ground:
the pounding of the well-trained gun.

Restless, insatiable,
blooms short-lived
spread wide their seed

far from the marriage bed.
Men follow lonely men
answering the call

Le suivant.
Wondering each who’s next,
going to die for king and country:

next to hell
with the whore to hell
with the mademoiselle

and the longing for
any sensation
any cessation.

A dry bed in Blighty.
A wet tear. Hope.
A pox on the fields in France.


Copyright © 2016 by Oonah V. Joslin

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