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Volume 3 | Issue 1 | September 2008 | 

Barbara LaMorticella

The Frogs of War

So now the frogs of war are croaking
from their pond of fire
and all the haters of peace, emboldened
croak back

they have only two notes:

Kill     Take
     Kill      Take

The Slaughter at Ishaqui

March, 2006: On the Third Anniversary
of the US Occupation of Iraq

Somebody thought these babies were insurgents.

Wrap the bodies with blankets
smooth back their hair,
and the cheeks that were shining yesterday,
wipe the dirt and blood from them.

Cradle each small foot naked in your hand
before you tuck it in.

Remember that when a helicopter lands,
the sound alone is enough to pierce a hole
in a child's head.

Three years after Shock and Awe,
the only certain water in Iraq are tears.

Barbara LaMorticella co-hosts Talking Earth, a poetry program on KBOO radio. She has lived rurally outside Portland since moving to Oregon from San Francisco, where she and her husband were founding members of the San Francisco Mime Troupe, in the late 60s. In 1997 her second collection of poems, Rain on Waterless Mountain, was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. In 2000 she was the recipient of the first Oregon Literary Fellowship for Women Writers, and in 2005 she was awarded the Stewart Holbrook Award for outstanding contribution to Oregon Literary Life. She has edited or co-edited three anthologies of Portland poetry. She has given over 200 poetry readings, and her work has appeared in many anthologies, including From Here we Speak, the Oregon State Teachers Association Literary Anthology; Pacific Northwestern Spiritual Poetry Anthology; and the new anthology of Oregon poetry, Deer Drink the Moon.









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