In the War Museum

London, 1993

When we come out of the netted shelter,
smells of bitter smoking meat

from the replica road, where a vinyl girl
lies tucked under rumpled concrete:

no time to close her eyes.
If she could see, the dome of St. Paul’s

still stands on the opposite wall,
rosy with destruction.

These bricks chip a little more
each time the benches rattle.

To our south, Yugoslavia cracks
like the shell of an overboiled egg.

In today’s paper, a blue bundle shoved to a curb.
The sheet sprouts two hands, soiled

to black, clenched
against a concave belly.

I see the word my father hollows out
when he reads to us

from our Bible stories book:
it’s when a man hurts a woman

in a way he never should.
The false smoke rises from this street.

After, in the quiet silver stall, a streak
of smoky blood rushes out of me.


JOCELYN HEATH is a PhD student in poetry at Georgia State. Her poem “Orbital” received the 2014 Allison Joseph Poetry Award from Crab Orchard Review. Other poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Crab Orchard, Poet Lore, Sinister Wisdom, Bellingham Review, and elsewhere. She has reviewed poetry for Lambda Literary and serves as an assistant editor for Smartish Pace.

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