Starting with the News from Greece by Joannie Stangeland


When the earth crumbles from the shovel

another hole, another body

When the news reads like a book from an older war

as the snow ends, when the fences

When the police in their own languages

When the news looks like Paris of the second war

in the streets, in train stations

people the current and the fish

in the nets drawn tighter, tighter

When a border is a wall, a gate a wall

When the fences, when no bread

no milk, no, no, no, another body

When the war sounds like sawdust for supper

When fear’s a wick a match ignites

and a building burns, ashes for shelter

When the politicians in their worsted suits

their bristly smiles, forget the older war

When a poem is not enough, we put

on our coats, zip up the stones in our chests

Our hearts are thundereggs

one good hammer could crack apart

Joannie Stangeland
Joannie Stangeland

Joannie Stangeland is the author of In Both Hands and Into the Rumored Spring from Ravenna Press, and three chapbooks. Her poems have also appeared in Prairie Schooner, Mid-American Review, The Southern Review, and other journals.