Cyprus | Paulann Petersen



Onto this island halved by patriots, 
rain refuses to fall.
Years of drought. Then an hour's lightning. 
Fire shrieks up mountainsides,
blaze harrows from cedar to pine.

Not an olive tree, an oleander, 
nothing left. What can grow 
from such blistered stone, such drifting ash?

Wild poppies.  Their crimson silk floods 
across boundary, claiming
the all of blackened ground. 
Through eras of Turk on Greek, 
Greek at Turk, 
kindred warring kin,
the seeds have endured.

Gorge, slope, ledge,
the whole island pulses
with a single blood, this red of reds—
earth's deep heart finding
its way into bloom.

                       —Paulann Petersen


Understory, Lost Horse Press, 2013


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