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Requiem This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

She wants to look pretty for her husband today.
But war has killed her too:
The limp of an eyelash, love-starved lips,
Hands crumpled by embittered faith in prayer.
Black never did suit her. And today, it could suffocate.
Hardly pretty, she whispers.

Her little boy seeks the comfort of clarity,
The meaning to it all:
Is not war just two people playing mean?
As she samples responses of disagreement,
Perfunctory insistence on the
Adult complexity of service, honor, duty,
Her mouth barely quavers.
There can be no answer for her son
When even she demands to above:
What for?

Through her haze of tears,
The red, white, and blue
Mocks with stunning clarity.
A flag for a soldier.
Her soldier. Her husband. His father.

How can she teach her little boy to mourn?

She grapples for more than the mere idea of him.
Memory is failing her:
His eye! His mouth! His touch!
Tangibility never emerges in grief.

And the only compassion the other wives offer,
With cordial pity and a tinge of envy:

How pretty she looks when she cries.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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