this notch of time

by Maggie Wang

after John Jarmain

what does it matter now if
flowers bloom in the
minefields?

what does it matter to the
unnamed bodies laid in
unmapped graves?

what does it matter if we
take the garlands &
crush them?

if we pluck the leaves out
one by one like soldiers
picked off in battle?

if we let the edges
curl & fade &
crumble?

it doesn’t matter—we
who have no lives
left to mend,

we who have banished
the name of glory
from our

tongues, we who have
fought to hear the
bells and

fallen deaf to all sound—
what does it matter
now if the

flowers bloom & our
tired eyes see
only death?