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China Beach

Ellen S. Jaffe
From:   No Choice but to Trust: The 1999 Sandburg-Livesay Award. Ed. Raymond Souster. Pittsburgh, PA: UnMon [Unfinished Monument] America, 2000.


(south-west coast of Vancouver Island, Easter Sunday, 1999)

celadon waves
smoky green
crashing like dinner plates
on the shore of China Beach
this side of the Pacific,
table laid with kelp, stones, shells—
while worlds away
not Vietnam this time but Kosovo
bombs crash, not celadon,
not porcelain
not even stone or earthenware
but crude lumps of undigested hate
these shells filled with gunpowder not
a handful of clams, soft-bellied, iridescent.
in the overheated kiln of war
houses, arms, hearts
living clay
meltdown to nothingness
once again
          once
                         again.




Ellen S. Jaffe's works copyright © to the author.


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