SPOILS OF WAR

 

The streets were cold and grey

On the day you marched into Paris.

I would not see the sun;

It did not shine in me until the Liberation.

 

You passed by me smugly.

Your boot heels clattered garishly on the pavement.

Pretty Arian face steeled in your duty to race.

But you saw me.

I threw flowers (because vegetables were too dear

And I had no hand grenades).

The City tolerated your arrogance

And I shared the urgency of your youth.

But I would not abide such treachery

Nor bow to the sorcery you invoked.

When I saw you on the street corner

You recognized me. Pulled the flower from your pocket.

Took my arm. Smiled.

You forced me swiftly into the alley.

Your maiming weapon swung at the ready

Threatened to discharge.

 

You ripped my skirt,

Pried me open in the Provinces;

Marched in cruelly to claim the prize,

Took me, innocent, a virgin;

Left me, worn and weeping, a woman.

My Fleur-de-Lis, battered, an open wound, bleeding.

But not my pride. I tied my skirt together,

Walked away calmly and survived.

 

I grew hard, learned new skills where lamplight mingled with radios and real heros

In the Catacomb boneyard of my fathers; in the sanctuary of hope and pride.

 

I saw you on Rue de Raspail, remembered you instantly, vividly

But you had forgotten.

I wanted you to see the skulls of Hades, Soldier.

Darkly, they would be laid at your door -- And more

.

“Monsieur, do you have a cigarette for a conquered jeune fille?

Aren’t the stars twinkling with promise this evening?

Would you escort me home?” I swoon.

“I fear there is danger in the night for a young woman.

Do you agree? Would you like to kiss me?

Please do not tear my skirt, Sir. Thread is so scarce.

Here, I’ll lift it for you.”

 

The ice pick found your eye . . . .

 

 

 

 

© 2004 Jane Bruton Daughtridge

 


 

Jane Bruton Daughtridge began writing poetry as a child but pursues a career in City Planning to make a living. She moved around the South quite a lot growing up, including the Wilmington, NC area, where she once again resides. A member of the NC Poetry Society for 30 years, Jane has been published in Award Winning Poems and online at Word Salad, but she doesn't submit very much poetry for publication. "I've never felt I had anything particularly new to say to the World at large. I just love words. I love the way they look when they flow out onto a piece of paper and the way they feel in my mouth when I say them."