blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1



Prisoner of War Camp, Pine Grove Furnace

When I came into the clearing and saw
the trees empty, I knew
I was hungry. You can want a thing so badly
you’ll take it dead. Instead
I found a rose tightly sheathed, an aqueduct
made by prisoners of war—P.O.W. 5 22 45
carved into cement, I had to put a finger
in the mossy furrow
to read it. Somewhere toward the center of the camp
stood a desolate fountain pieced with blue
quartz they must have gathered
over time. I prayed once
to see a hummingbird—heart’s motor, flesh-
lantern burning—and when I found
one in the crabgrass I had to hold it in my
hand and tilt my wrist for the light to catch the
gold in its vermillion feathers. 

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