COMING FORWARD

Susan F. Glassmeyer

Stand back! Stand back! Soldiers kept pushing us back.
We saw the cross they made him carry on his back.
 
There was chaos in the crowd. People pushing.
Late day sun and dust fell like silt upon his back.
 
Rumors of brutal beatings. An unfair trial.
Fists shaking. Filthy names and curses on his back.
 
We could barely breathe. Public pressure hemmed us in.
Making room, I flung my sack of clothing on my back.
 
I made my way up front. I saw him pant, then drop.
The only thing clean I had was resting on my back.
 
All eyes were watching. There was no embarrassment.
He was weeping. All was heavy on his back.
 
His resignation was pure. I took a scarf from my pack.
He let me wipe his face. I put my other hand on his back.
 
That moment is nailed to my heart. His eyes meant
everything. Someone kicked us both in the back.

He asked my name: I said, Veronica.
They can have the scarf. I don’t want it back.

 

SUSAN F. GLASSMEYER is new to writing the ghazal and enjoys the music inherent to this particular form. Her poems have appeared in print and online journals. She has two chapbook collections: Body Matters (Pudding House Publications, 2010) and Cook's Luck (Finishing Line Press, 2012). Susan lives in Cincinnati where she is a somatic therapist specializing in helping injured people reclaim the poetry of movement in their bodies. She can be reached at susannaglass@LittlePocketPoetry.Org