Even if you don’t have a friend or relative who has experienced war, this poem would make even the civilian understand what that experience does to a person, and how nature’s beauty connects us all.
— Beacon Poetry Editor Billy Hands

by Georgeann Packard

I am intoxicated with the beauty
of the carpet of petals beneath the fruit trees
it’s as if fragments of heaven
have floated down to earth

how can this be the same planet?
how can the sunsets be so similar?
one over desert and desperation
the other over the bodies of small children
playing in shallow lake water
both sunsets spilling rose orange
even magenta
into my starving eyes

so this is spring
what it looks and feels like
what it smells and sounds like
when not scented with car and truck exhalations
or the hum of the camp’s generators
just the hush of new growth
seeds cracking open
everywhere life breaking from the soil
like the dead rising
from winter’s grave

I like the sound of my boots
sharp and sure on LaCore Road
how the sound is different
going and coming
I like the way my arms swing
in this unfamiliar exaggerated way
like I am dancing my way somewhere

I can see myself here
as an old woman
again and again
experiencing spring
as if for the first time

I feel change in me
as if I were a dandelion
sprouting over a grave site
as if the face of God
has turned back to me
not with forgiveness in His eyes
but a willingness to forget

A Mattituck resident, Georgeann Packard’s “The Occupation of Zaima,” about a fictional Iraqi-American woman serving in the Iraq War, was published by The Permanent Press in October 2018. This poem is an excerpt from that book.

The Beacon is accepting poetry submissions at poetry@eastendbeacon.com.

East End Beacon
The East End Beacon is your guide to social and environmental issues, arts & culture on the East End of Long Island.

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