dorothy terry | afghanistan

6 11 2009

PoetryDispatch No. 298 | November 6, 2009


by Dorothy Terry

Was smaller than before, the pebbles washed up
On the shore, and all we ever did adore was
Turned to wormwood. We walked along the stonewall then,
We did not talk; we knew not when our time would come —
But that was yesterday.

Above, the stars had hid from sight. The longest day returned to
Night – The moon came up with portent’s sigh,
The days grew long, the nights flew by,
We hid in grandma’s tower room, where crows still cawed
Their cries of doom — explicit nothingness of Hell!

Up there among the wreck and wrack, we listened
For the call, “Give Back”, give back the all you’ll ever know,
Return the crackling icy flow. Return the stinging summer heats,
The metronomic heart that beats. Return the simple, lasting things,
The moon that winks — the sun that sings….”

You are the lost and weary ones – the ones who threw away their
Guns, to die in haven’s craggy place, to die ascending rocky face,
To die alone, and scared and cold, to die too soon, before you’re
Old, to die tomorrow or today, in one
Portentous giveaway.

Editor’s Note: This is the first publication of “Afghanistan.” Dorothy Terry is a little known Chicago poet of great skill but relatively few credits. Not because she isn’t talented—but because she tired of the publishing game. Time, no longer on her side. Excerpts of her distinguished work based on the life of T.S. Eliot, THE FANTASTICAL TRAVELS OF TSE, was published in an anthology of works-in-progress, OTHER VOICES, Cross+Roads Press, 2007. A limited edition of her beautiful poems set in Mexico was privately printed this year, OAXACA, Mañana y Noche—highly recommend. Here are two short poems from that fine book.


We drink, don’t we?
Ay, we deserve
The best, we say!
Forget the dusty cementario!
All those madres
With boring pozole
And tattered, tear-worn pictures.

Pull up a chair!
Bring out the mescal.
Living or dead
It makes no difference tonight.

Old Roberto,
Yesterday, only bleached bones
But tonight, who cares?
He drinks with the worst of us
On Dia de los Muertos.


Squandered gold
In veins of lilac silk
A sure hand wove that sensuous pattern
Shade on shade Sigh on sigh
Thread / under / over / under
Life binding life
Until the final sigh of completion.