I had a hook in you good. Then you broke free,
your silent lip pierced, the barb in your mouth
that taste of metal you can’t spit out.
My snapped line trails from your jaw,
unfurls along the purple-green scales of your back.
The plumb lead taps as you slip from my net
to unfathomed depths, wrack,
sands, inscrutable derelict.
If you had hands, you would hurt me.
I still wish you hands.
When you swallow words,
my listening plumbs your underworld.
How many childhood days
I studied World War Two,
every frightened face.
Preparation for you.
Time loves, then leaves no trace
but my heart cut in two.
No matter what you do,
someone says it’s a waste.
Nothing we knew stays true.
My words march on the page
oblivious to truths
shifting beneath like plates.
We have called a truce
but ghost soldiers make haste,
unaware of the news.
Holly Woodward is a writer and artist. She served as writer in residence at St. Albans, Washington National Cathedral, and was a fellow at CUNY Graduate Center’s Writers’ Institute. Her poems and fiction have appeared in magazines on the web and in print. After a year as a doctoral fellow at Moscow University, she’s working on a novel about Russian women fighting in World War Two.