Soldiers In the Fog

by Katharyn Howd Machan
will be the title of Fox’s tenth
painting—she knows, she’s sure
of it—even though she doesn’t
yet own brush and canvas,
a palette of oils, water colors.
But she’s dreamed it, Fox,
seen muted uniforms fleeing

confused and desperate between
meadow and forest, on one side
a curving low-banked stream
like the ones her father always
put into his art those last
ten years of his life. Maybe
they’ll be in France
, Fox

muses, thinking of where as a young
musician her father served at funerals
where apples ripened and lavender thrived
and one day he picked up and kept
a small carved-out ivory Eiffel Tower
a farmer or gunman had used for a pipe.
Or another country someone else

has turned into hell in a far future
of self-righteous bloodlust and fear.

All Fox can sense now—she’s not
a Cassandra!—is the sure dark way
her fingers will guide shadowed gray to fall
and separate frantic running figures
so they can’t see each other at all.

KATHARYN HOWD MACHAN, Professor of Writing at Ithaca College, holds degrees from the College of Saint Rose, the University of Iowa, and Northwestern University. Her poems have appeared in numerous magazines; in anthologies and textbooks such as The Bedford Introduction to Literature, The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2013, Poetry: An Introduction, Early Ripening: American Women’s Poetry Now, Sound and Sense, Writing Poems, Literature: Reading and Writing the Human Experience; and in 32 collections, most recently Wild Grapes: Poems of Fox (Finishing Line Press, 2014), H (Gribble Press, 2014—national winner) and When She’s Asked to Think of Colors (Palettes & Quills Press, 2009—national winner). Former director of the national Feminist Women’s Writing Workshops, Inc., in 2012 she edited Adrienne Rich: A Tribute Anthology (Split Oak Press).