• Vol. 06
  • Chapter 08
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War Story

Many men died      in the Argonne Forest     I survived     the bloody battle     the war     alive amid     cold and silent bodies
I was still a young     vigorous man
when I returned     married you
farm girl from a Mennonite family

The cries of dying men     echoed in my dreams     You were there in the
darkest nights     I thought
my heart     would beat open     my chest
I knew many nights     the end was near     Your touch your silken hand strong

You gave birth     a hard     unforgiving labor     I cancelled the concert     my debut
the violin     lay quiet in its black case
for months     I who survived     the threat
of annihilation in France     now
alone     with our boy     my life a coffin

Life — this life — I could not shake
your loss     I never could forget
the sharp     beautiful mornings
Pennsylvania country     great hope
I carry your ring     hidden in a pocket
I became the war     I survived