Saturday, March 20, 2010

Alene Terzian: Spoils of War


In Beirut, a store owner makes
jewelry from shrapnel: 
corrugated metal bangles,
a hollow point bullet ring,
a welded pendant cross.
She says, material’s cheap,
mark up’s high—rich people
buy them for Christmas.
She has collected enough
metal to fill her garage,
has learned the difference
between grenade and bomb,
shell and casing.
The ones with serial numbers
cost double; real history,
she says, is a proof of purchase—
to get close enough without dying.


My father hides a square
of shrapnel behind trousers
in the closet, considers
the day he found it next to
his dead dog in the street.
When he thinks no one’s
looking, he polishes it,
smells the iron ore,
buffs its corners
of impact. It shines
in his palm. He thinks
it’s what killed the dog
that unlucky summer,            
keeps it as a souvenir
to remember the days
when the streets
were lined with skins.


Gerry Boyd said...

Powerful and perfect. The language is concise enough to scan and generous enough for impact. You really got this right. Bravo!

Noxalio said...

an excellent poem.

also heartbreaking
and quite documentary.

thank you for sharing it.