Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

Between Wars

Between Wars

By Richard Chess

When it's over, we skin the war
And study its skeleton.
An archeologist brushes dirt from a bone
She turns in her hand.
She and the man to whom she comes
Between wars tum over and over
In a cold bed. A student turns
A tall page of Talmud.
Interrogated, a suspect from the territories
Turns over names of his neighbors.
Then he is turned out to the desert
Where he is lost until a veil
Lifts and reveals a road.
God turns to observe the familiar world
Hosing blood off its surfaces.
An hour passes, a season
Passes, a cycle of holidays
Completes its tum. A visitor turns
To his host, a woman who lost
A son in the last war.

Prairie Schooner, Vol. 71, No. 1 (Spring 1997), p. 189


Richard Chess

Richard Chess is the author of three books of poetry: Tekiah, Chair in the Desert, and Third Temple. Poems of his have appeared in Telling and Remembering: A Century of American Jewish Poetry, Bearing the Mystery: Twenty Years of IMAGE, Best Spiritual Writing 2005, and the recently published Bloomsbury Anthology of Contemporary Jewish American Poetry. He contributes regularly to “Good Letters,” a blog developed and hosted by IMAGE. He is the Roy Carroll Professor of Honors Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina-Asheville. He is also the director of UNC-Asheville’s Center for Jewish Studies.

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