SACRED HEART by Rosario Romero
A WINTER MORNING, RAINS COUNTY, TEXAS
by James Lee Jobe
The tarp we put over the woodpile
whispered tales of the walls of Troy.
We were young
and we didn't listen.
Our own walls were silent,
The tractor contained a crispness that one expects
to find in Marine sergeants and apples;
the purring engine had the feel of clean linen
The work we did rewarded us
for our youth.
It felt immortal to throw hay from the loft
down to the cows below.
The sharp wind
on our young faces!
Later, we walked back together, joking,
to eat the simple noon meal.
But something of the morning went with us,
into the house, in our hands, in our skin.
YELLOW SHOES by Lynn Crounse
by Paul Smith
The 40s are a puzzle
If you're talking years
The 40s were a grim decade of war
Gray battleships sunk in the even grayer
Grim gray men shot at each other from trenches in thick gray mud
Men in gray suits cheered cheerlessly at ballgames
Filmed in black & white
But there were a few other colors
If you're talking age
The 40s seen from below
Look like that time when
The beige yoke of adulthood
Is thrust on your shoulders
And life is spent quarreling over nothing
And making up already knowing it is useless
If it is temperature that's on your mind
The 40s are a purgatory of not
And certainly not summer
You shiver in the 40s because you brought
A windbreaker or something light
And there is a gale in your face
But if you look at the 40s from above
As they recede from view
They get better
Especially the war years
Especially the day that man came home
Who wasn't gray
When you played with a red tin locomotive on a bare floor
And when your mother opened the door
You knew it was him
Though it was the first time you met
And when he picked you up and held you
And you felt the cold fortyish sting of his cheeks
You felt the same thing you feel now
That there is no gray anywhere