by Cathy Smith Bowers

When my brother
finally spoke its name,
the white cells of his body
having relinquished
their ancient
instruments of war
the small bombs
and the hand grenades
the tanks slow
retreat into mirage
the horses
and the bright swords
the sticks
the stones
finally down
and the little lost
animal of the spirit
stepping its soft
hooves into the light,
I wanted
to know that peace
walk into that quiet
to lie down
in a life like that.

Cathy Smith Bowers is author of three poetry collections, including The Love That Ended Yesterday in Texas, which was the first winner of the Texas Tech University Press Poetry Award Series, subsequently named for Walt McDonald. Her other books are Traveling in Time of Danger and her most recent, A Book of Minutes, from Iris Press. A native of South Carolina, she has received a South Carolina Poetry Fellowship and was a winner of the 1990 General Electric Award for Younger Writers. Her poems appear in The Atlantic Monthly, Poetry, The Georgia Review, Shenandoah, The Southern Review, Kenyon Review, and The Gettysburg Review, among other journals. She teaches in the Low-Residency MFA Program at Queens University of Charlotte. I spoke with her in Tryon, North Carolina, her new town of residence, which offers a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

“Groceries,” “Kingdom,” and “Three” originally appeared in Traveling in Time of Danger (Iris Press, 1999). “Anatomy of a Southern Kiss,” “Chamomile,” and “Pansy” originally appeared in A Book of Minutes (Iris Press, 2004). These poems are reprinted here by permission of the author.