Each day, when I bring her the paper, she tells me
there’s no more war. “No more war!”
She’s proud of her time carrying those signs
around Parliament Hill month after month.
“No more fighting. The world has come together,”
she says, smoothing the paper face down
on its fold and pushing it aside. “The United Nations
sends food to the starving, drops bags of water
from airplanes whereever there’s drought.
I don’t contradict her. Television, radio,
don’t enter her corner room bright with dahlias,
morning sun, an orange tree in fruit.
She still reads, mysteries, ones with British endings –
we share them back and forth.
But not the front pages. They’re blocked
from her view by her own defences:
a censor’s black lines in a letter home.
Though something seeps through:
all the children she couldn’t save.
Her own kids soon to be left without a shield.
So she’s written a better tale. In my lifetime,
she tells me, so much has changed.
At last, we have peace.
“Yes,” I answer. “Peace is coming.”
Not a lie: in time, we will either save or destroy
this blue haven. Peace of a kind.
I open the paper to the comics page.
By: Susan McMaster, from the book “Pendle War Poetry Competition: Selected Poems, 2014”. Susan is founding editor of Canada's first feminist magazine, Branching Out, and past president of the League of Canadian Poets.