Poem : Barbwire / by Heather Taylor

Photo by Becky Taylor; Poetry by Heather Taylor

Photo by Becky Taylor; Poetry by Heather Taylor

Ribbons cut the sky like birthday decorations
and make a present of the atmosphere.

Lying on our backs we could be in Palestine,
Iraq or my uncle’s mid-prairie farm.

Those spikes are good for keeping out, sliding under
to play commando, though some places it’s for real

those enemies not merely trees in the distance
but blurred shapes with night vision googles

our stick guns real in someone’s hands,
their memories of childhood fading.

I like to pretend barbwire is only for cows
electric fences giving them a psychology lesson.

How can you sleep if you think it’s for children,
women with scarfs covering their faces,

dreaming of sky that goes clear to the stars
unwrapped of those reminders of war.