A LIFE NOT OUR OWN

by Melissa Chappell  

A Life Not Our Own

The lights of the television crews shone as bright as a Syrian sun.
The scene was set for a Presidential appearance,
red backdrop, no doubt for victory, the letting of blood, over the deserts run.
The blotting out of evil, through a “hole in the wall,” a final disappearance.

The scene was set for a Presidential appearance,
At 35.8 degrees N, 36.7 degrees E, a mass of rubble marked the grave of four.
It was the blotting out of evil, through a “hole in the wall,” a final disappearance.
The man in the blue suit boasted that they hadn’t used the door.

At 35.8 degrees N, 36.7 degrees E, a mass of rubble marked the grave of four.
The target was “screaming, crying and whimpering”, “like a dog.”
The man in the blue suit boasted that they hadn’t used the door.
Somewhere an old woman sat at a fire, remembering a Syrian song.

The target was “screaming, crying and whimpering,” “like a dog.”
The man in blue said that he died like an animal. Since that’s what he was.
Somewhere an old woman sat at a fire, remembering a Syrian song.
In her weathered hands a white carnation, in her hair the stars.

The man in blue said that he died like an animal. Since that’s what he was.
He does not understand to ask for mercy for taking a life not our own.
In her weathered hands a carnation, in her hair the stars.
The mother of the dead weeps quietly where night and day are sewn.

Upon the Autumn Floor

The autumn light lays itself across the field,
with the azure sky resting in the limbs of the trees,
their crowns erupting in crimson and flame.
I walk among them,
for I am known among the ash, the poplar and the pine.
A breeze passes through the effulgence of leaves;
it puts me in mind of you.
I lean myself against a wise old pine,
who already holds many secrets of mine.
There, I catch your scent in the air,
the scent of the mountain,
the lustered river,
the grasses fair,
the patch of blueberries,
where you asked to make love to me.
Your skin, afterwards,
the scent of earth and moss.
Tangled in me,
closer than the sky is to the color blue.
Pain—in my hand a splinter of pine,
a drop of blood on
leaves lately fallen.
You splinter my mind,
pierce my heart,
and I bleed you,
your life’s elixir,
warm scotch,
and the blazing
world I made for us,
all spilling out of me,
crimson and flame,
upon the Autumn floor.

About the Author:

Melissa Chappell: I am a native of rural South Carolina where I live on land that has been in my family for six generations. I am inspired by the woods and open spaces as well as the roving wildlife. I have been published in several journals, among the the Harbinger Asylum and Ethos Literary Journal, in which was published a book review that i wrote on Claudine Nash’s book The Wild Essential. I have published two chapbooks, the first being Rivers and Relics and Other Poems, by Desert Willow Press in 2018, and Light, Refracted in 2019 by Finishing Line Press. I was also a Pushcart Prize nominee in 2019.

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