During the Vietnam War

... only the new growth grass was wet behind her head and back.
She could feel it and she could smell the grass rising up around her,
saw the whole sky and saw the sky in its de facto language
even though she was only seven. The year held out
a bird skull in its opened hand, whole.
Other birds were singing in a French film with no subtitles.
It was black and white. But the sky was definitely blue, an invention
of blue. A vector and hinge and rung of only
blue already there, no matter where you looked.

It took a long time. She looked a long time and in lockstep
pressed the tips of her fingers into the mole-black dirt
between grass blades. Only, this is
the wrong story: she did not doom or injure
any animals but she was restless then, and she was
glad she was not safe.
More Poems by Elena Karina Byrne