Who can grieve for it all?
The standard-bearer, seeing
his right hand shot off, grabs the flag
with his left and shouts God Bless America!
as he charges up the hill. An Iraqi child
shoos flies from her brother’s corpse.
News, they call it.
The gospel of atrocities.
Seeing a lemon, incandescent with light,
hearing the cry of a bird with the sky caught
in its throat, I can forget.
I woo heartlessness.
Would it necessarily
make me cruel or stupid?
On one of those cooking shows,
a new Chef appears. Take heart,
for instance, he says, paging
through his cook book: Heart.
A delicious muscle grilled,
baked or steamed with bamboo shoots.
Like liver or kidneys, but harder to find
in the better markets. Looking for a heart,
he opens his map of our neighborhood.
He pulls on his coat and hat.
The bags under his eyes are the color of nickels.
Jeanne Murray Walker teaches at the University of Delaware. Her most recent book of poetry is A Deed to the Light.
“Take Heart” by Jeanne Murray Walker, reprinted by permission of the author and Gettysburg Press.