“Campaign Season” by Marie-Elizabeth Mali

Marie-Elizabeth Mali

CAMPAIGN SEASON

We pray for the troops at war with old gear
in that intricate date-scented desert where
a mother spits. House and son gone this year.

Kill him, a man at the rally sneers,
as the first notes of “Strange Fruit” plummet the air.
We pray for the troops at war with old gear.

Jesus is hailed. Community organizers draw jeers.
Drill! screeches the woman with upswept hair.
A mother spits. House and son gone this year.

A Kansas woman says it’s Muslims she fears.
But they die in uniform for the ground we share.
We pray for the troops at war with old gear.

Wall Street and Main Street recklessly steer.
The story of a mother named Jocelyn Voltaire—
She spits. House foreclosed and son gone this year—

moves strangers to send $30K and volunteers.
The house stays hers for now, the court declares.
We pray for the troops at war with old gear.
A mother spits. House and son gone this year.

from Rattle #32, Winter 2009

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Marie-Elizabeth Mali: “After reading Neruda’s Poetry while on vacation, I stood in the INS line at JFK and vowed to dedicate myself fully to poetry. I left my Chinese Medicine practice shortly after and have completed the MFA in poetry program at Sarah Lawrence College. I love how a poem can upend a person’s life.” (website)