A LOVE LETTER AT A TIME OF LOSS a Poem by Elizabeth I. Riseden

I use for this only the finest
with daisies.

In dreams my grandparents’ slowly-turning
shades visit. Dust-mounded. Their restless
churning forces awareness.

Martha and John weep.
If we knew
your United States would make
tyranny, we would have saved
our walk from Russia,
starved bellies, blistered feet.

Grandpa Dolph says, How can you ignore freedom?
I lost an eye in the mines
to give your parents and you liberty.
The mines gave me white lung. I died
too young.

Grandma Elizabeth sounds grave, With him
I worked so hard.
Saw five children through school.

My father in the old country
said, ‘ no education.’
I ran my legs to earn steerage.
Why don’t you stand?
you let bullies
scare you, believe their lies.

Why you give up so easy?
They moan in chorus.
Soon National ID, spies shove tracking
chips in every body. Torture is OK
if America does it,
Kill Katrina people.
No food, no water. No help. Hell.

What? You give no resistance?
Stay so quiet
as bosses send good jobs to India, China?
Lie to yourself it’s
just like droning pictures on your TV.
Why are you so timid, so weak?

Stay paralyzed by Osama,
when your home-based
enemies rape you?
Chew cud like contented Wal-Mart cows
when homeless mill in pale crowds, and
more rot in jail hee than anywhere.

Not fight to save freedom?

The clock chimes.

I startle awake. Slurp coffee.
Dip my pen in ghosts’ blood.
Scream on fine paper.

...Elizabeth I. Riseden lives and writes happily in Carson City, Nevada, with many wild things surrounding her and a panorama of the Sierra Nevadas to savor daily. One of the fine Ash Canyon poets, Liz has recently completed an eastern Nevada-centered memoir. Once again Elizabeth's poetry graces this journal.