Spring 2008

Table of Contents - Vol. VI, No. 1


Poetry    Interview    Translations    Fiction    Book Reviews

Richard Peabody


Civil War Pieta

Dear Walt:

Did you ever embrace feet? The absence of feet?
Hold poor wounded feet captive in your hands. Caress them.
Ankles, instep, foot-ball, toes, toe-joints, the heel.
Attempt to mold the damaged clay of muscle and bone
until it once again resembled the perfect feet of newborns.
My dancer girlfriend had the most delicious legs imaginable.
Yet I cried when she stripped off her shoes and I learned
that she only possessed three remaining toenails.
She couldn¹t paint them like my daughters do now.
Couldn¹t wear open toed shoes. Once she painted
my nails bloody red. Not like the brownish real blood
you saw daily at Armory Square Hospital
on your rounds from cot to cot. Tears in your beard.
Tears falling onto mangled sinew, the pale flesh of those
brave hearted boys. Good brave boys, many of them
doomed amputees. My relationships with dancers
were always doomed for less electric reasons.
Bloody scabs woven into pink silk ballet slippers. Stripping off
her shoes thread by thread after she danced to reveal
her torn pitiful feet. I¹m not a foot fetishist but a woman¹s feet
are extremely appealing, glorious, mystical.
A curve, an arch, a flexing of toes, a rocking of legs.
Bathing a soldier¹s feet, did you think analogous thoughts?
Give me to bathe the memories of all dead soldiers.
Did you wish you could heal them with a laying on of hands?
Long for some of the expensive perfume that sinner woman used
on the savior¹s feet? Perfume therefore my chant, O love!
immortal Love! Did you dream that by soothing these
men, by handling their wounded, ravaged flesh, their
stumps, their broken, savaged, gangrenous toes,
you could somehow make them whole once more? Free them?
Feet of war, feet of warriors, feet that nobody would ever kiss
or even touch again. Did you think why then I shall kiss them.
And parted the shirt from my bosom-bone, and plunged
your tongue to my bare-stript heart.

I shall touch them--these wounds, these wounded. Blue or gray
no longer an issue in a landscape fraught with cannon fire, pestilence,
and death. Nothing mattering but pain, and new worlds of pain,
combined with a hunger to paint a new reality via your
brain and heart, your tears. Did you stoop then, heft the boy
up into your arms in search of breath? Curl your body around his sad form?
Hospital linens draping you both, freezing you momentarily.
Sweet are the blooming cheeks of the living!
Before you rocked gently, gently like a tired ship on an ocean of tears.


© Richard Peabody



Poetry    Interview    Translations    Fiction    Book Reviews

Website Copyright © 2008 by Loch Raven Review.

Copyright Notice and Terms of Use: This website contains copyrighted materials, including, but not limited to, text, photographs, and graphics. You may not use, copy, publish, upload, download, post to a bulletin board. or otherwise transmit, distribute, or modify any contents of this website in any way, except that you may download one copy of such contents on any single computer for your own personal non-commercial use, provided you do not alter or remove any copyright, poet, author, or artist attribution, or any other proprietary notices.