A Day of Peace
Red sky at morning, sailors take warning
White gull soars into the blushing sky,
drops a clam shell on the beach,
for the boy to find.
He’s never seen the sea before
but he’s seen fragmented beauty
in his shattered city,
of broken statues.
Dark clouds roll in from the horizon,
the boy picks up the broken shell,
puts it in his pocket,
a token of hope.
Mackerel sky, mackerel sky, never long wet and never long dry.
One raindrop falls,
landing on the woman’s greying hair,
dripping down her sun-weathered face.
She sniffs the air, smiles
at the scent of damp earth
imagines the corn that will rise
from the thirsty ground,
smiles, as the raindrops fall faster,
drumbeats upon the earth,
with more than her blood–
both sated and alive.
Once in a blue moon
the sky clears,
the moon silvered-full hovers
over sea and land,
the woman stands on her porch and watches it,
to the sounds of the night,
thinking she can hear the corn grow,
or the moon
humming a lullaby for the fitful world.
In his new bedroom,
the boy takes the shell from his pocket,
gazes up to the sky,
he hears no thuds,
no sniper rat-tat-tat-tats,
only the wind sighing, blowing
him dreams of flying like a gull
over a moonlit sea.
Merril D. Smith is an independent scholar with a Ph.D. in American History and numerous books on history and gender issues. Her poetry and stories have appeared recently in Rhythm & Bones, Vita Brevis, Streetlight Press, Ghost City, Twist in Time, and Mojave Heart Review. Her blog is at merrildsmith.com.