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Image from Sewaholic

Image from Sewaholic

Can you see it, can you see
the peace inside the walls
that rise and meet in corners
with flawless verticality to hang
collages of your holidays in Venice
or your MBA, wood-framed, those
windows, blinds pulled back and
pouring in a perfect sky—look up,
way up—regard the roof across
the top that keeps your powder
and your paper dry, while on
your plate a crusty loaf awaits,
thick-sliced with provolone and
cucumbers and olives, black
shiny in a heap like Lilliputian

Or is it that you’ve seen
all this, and now you’re better
trained to zero in and stay with
things that matter more, the data
and the measurements, you scan
the news of mudslides and those
wedding guests in Kandahar who’ll
never taste the lamb, slow-roasted
stuffed with saffron rice and dates—
that IED got in their way—you turn
the page to stocks and bonds,
you didn’t know them anyway
and here you are inside four
walls that keep you safe; there’s
something on your plate, you eat
but scarcely taste—and when did
food, its succulence, the salty and
the sweet, become the enemy?

The ones no longer here, Afghanis
and the twenty-six, a mother and her
son, gaze down at us, soft-angled,
they are whispering, reminding you
and me that every detonation in our
brains is sparking fireworks of peace.

I am the source, you are the source
and cause of bliss now gathering
inside the walls that keep us safe,
that rainbow through the window
is our smile, vast multiplied, a
curving arc that rises to create
the scalloped edges of a tablecloth
that spreads across our firmament
to hold the joyous platters of
the universal wedding feast.

© Elaine Stirling, 2013