War Madonna BCE

by Wilma Ann Johnson

A  Mother?

Why her frame
was that of a younger woman as
Memling-like
her red hair
fell down her back
as she knelt
with moving lips and
prayerfully clasped hands
in the dimness while
tapers burned,
incense permeated the air,
and the night bird
sang a dirge outside
over the grave
of her soldier-son
a sacrifice to Ares and Bellona.

Long Listed Poem 

Poetry Society of Vermont, 2024 The Mountain Troubadour