My War

by Amy Wolstenholme

My war can fit within the rotation of a minute hand.
Between 6:59 and 7:00pm, news bulletins in Times New Roman,
another town with a name you cannot pronounce is known and lost
simultaneously. You have time to glance up from your dinner,
look to your front door; check the outside is still locked out,
say: thank God. My war is erased by pressing a button.
It exists on the other channel, or on dull Tuesday afternoons
where the bluebottles swarm their reflections in windows,
get crushed by volumes of literary poetry and – thank God –
the bell rings. My war is trapped in front covers and fly wings.
My war is on tour buses, in fields all scoured with red
(we all know how well flowers bloom from the dead).
I pinned a poppy to my car bonnet, left it to bleed in the sun,
until all the blood had run, until all the colour had gone,
until it was white as vacant skin – the colour of peace.
My war is on pay slips, in five pounds a month to some charity
off building houses or commemorating bodies. Here:
have my illegible signature, my languid name. Stamped.
Approved. My war comes out of the post office
and in through the letterbox, my sympathy fits twelve inches by two
(the rest of the door is locked tight thank God thank God).
Here are some more faces that travelled from doormat to bin.
My war stays on street corners, in bedraggled protest signs,
small change occasionally gifted, dropped in my peripheral vision
(we all know eye contact cannot, must not be given).
My war is dust that occasionally comes drifting through,
people dissolved into air, into beautiful nothing in locked rooms
(you did remember to turn the key – did you, did you?).
My war is in my pocket: Update–Hashtag–NEWS FLASH.
Somewhere inconceivable, people are turning to ash.
My war is when I take your hand and hold it on the bus.
(thankgodthankgodthankgod it wasn’t us)