Editor's Note Section

൪uartet - Spring Issue 2022 Volume 2 Issue 2

 

Poetry

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Polly Brown


 

First Day at the Center

for the Study of War

Across the wide room, someone—

a man—says the impact of war

falls heaviest on women, 

 

on wives of men who are 

drinking themselves to sleep. 

Mine is not the only sharp

 

intake of breath. And daughters.

Behind me, a woman’s voice, “But 

we shine the armor, admire

 

the fine postures in the parade.” 

And keep the body of suffering 

buried. The tally of our own 

 

breakage blank. Quick tears 

thicken my throat. None of that 

helped my father much.

 

 

After I retired from teaching, one of my consolations became the summer writing workshops at Boston’s William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences. I wanted help

writing about my father’s war and its shadow, and found that—thunderclap!—from the first day,

from other daughters of veterans, from veterans of more recent wars, from visiting Vietnamese writers. When Fred Marchant, an especially helpful mentor, grinned at us all as he thought about

the pleasure of a new draft, I thought about my own slow, persistent approach to writing. I was

there not only to begin holding in some calm the pain and damage of my father’s war; I was there to honor the search for help from others. To keep writing my way around the corner, into a new

chapter. 

—Polly Brown

൪uartet is an online poetry journal that features the work of women 50 and over.

To view our issues and submission guidelines, please visit www.quartetjournal.com.