Volcano bled fire
and covered the moors.

Terrain like a sheet wrinkled.
In the desert an airplane dehisced.

Genes paired and shivered
in vain artifice.

Scree filled the bedrock floor.
Detritus, our ingenue.

I mean the land was innocent.
I mean war sizes ran small.

We kept the kills quiet
amid rows of pale clover,

sugarcane and millet.

Detail of Paul Nash's "Sunset: Ruin of the Hospice, Wytschaete," 1917. Source: Imperial War Museum.

Melissa Ginsburg

Melissa Ginsburg is author of the poetry collection Dear Weather Ghost, the poetry chapbooks Arbor and Double Blind, and the noir novel Sunset City. Her poems have appeared in Fence, Denver Quarterly, Field, Pleiades, The Iowa Review, Blackbird, and other magazines. She has received support from the Mississippi Arts Council and the Ucross Foundation. Originally from Houston, Texas, Ginsburg attended the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. She is an assistant professor of creative writing and literature at the University of Mississippi in Oxford.