Arts Décoratifs

by Carrie George

 

Everything has symmetry

before wartime. Children playing

 

under mirror-veined leaves,

skinned knees stamping Rorschach blood

 

on pavement. We wear gold,

we craft fire, we smelt iron, we birth steel.

 

The women have three sides:

silent mothers, red-lipped, coy—

 

their triangled bodies stomp

through fate, slow stitch chevron

 

across army foundations. Emerald vine

deepens at war’s frosted root.

 

Mothers chop carrots,

salt water, wield wood spoons.

 

Wives curl scarlet hair,

tumble tired secrets on collar bones.  

 

Girls bloom peach stripes,

weave tangerine leaves under fire.

 

Boys and men

remember grass, write letters back home,

 

dream sky, tessellate clouds,

puncture open wounds.

 

His skin sheds green dust

as the mile-far mother tends to the ashes.

 

Together, they palm a rough granite

and weep into a stained-yellow looking glass,

 

both wondering what words elders use

to speak of gray