Nerve Root previously posted on Poets Against War Website
As a young woman
I saved scrawled details,
monsoons and foxholes, my brother
keeping armed watch in Nam.
Now, I step through twisted mind fields,
search stagnant pools
for scarred soldiers’ hearts.
If their tenderness were buried
in a grand fir forest,
spring would erupt
in a blanket of Lady-slipper.
Bowing my head in reverence,
I’d witness the orchid’s vulnerability:
once picked, it never again returns.
Tossed about on tangled
thoughts, I seek escape; a quarrel
with my lover; a chaotic
reprieve. Hands tied in filaments,
I’m captured like a soldier.
Fleeing to a room devoid of casualty
reports, painting a delicate Cypripedium–
peace revealed in a slipper shape.
Left alone, the species remains
vibrant–an unbroken chain
thriving in a forest alongside
trillium and Indian pipe.