The door to the bedroom creaked open
Letting in a hot yellow stab of light.
The biting rattle of bullets
And crackled screams for retreat
Filtered in from the other side.
It was dark except for the spike of light through the jar.
A small glow from the round peep hole through the wood
Left a red-ringed shadow of the sunset above the dresser.
My clothes were thrown about the room
Casualties of looting for the last precious string of Art Deco
Beads from my grandmother’s youth.
Then I remember:
They were gone to Italy in a cardboard box
Sold to finance frivolous dreams of someone actually using them for prayer.
The antique rosary was probably parted out for money.
The sock it had been wrapped in was empty
Except for a scratched medallion of Saint Christopher.
He carried the Child over the river
Away from the bullets and the hot dust
To here, in the dark bottom drawer in Texas:
Cold rain-washed and full of flaky bark chips along some over-manicured road.
Where are they going,
They who came this far through the war and the rattling defeats
To be placed on a long chain around my neck?
I wear the medal close to my heart
It reminds me of where I was
And urges me onward, but it will not tell me where I am going
On the torn feed-sack and rag quilt
Thinly shielding me from the chaos of rapid-fire failure.
– August 15, 2011