Collateral Damage

by Martina Reisz Newberry

First, there was a thousand years of famine,
then a moment of surplus. Death’s flawless
dreams waited for our silent coming. We

bloomed—black Narcissus on a bruised and
desecrated desert. We set the clocks
for the earth to explode under us.

We ignored the signs, transfused the wounded
with tainted blood and gave medicines that
dissolved the bones of our brothers. We cut

open our sisters’ bodies and placed bitter
leaves in their wombs. We polished our own hearts
with aluminum salts borrowed from the

cellars of devils. We delivered fears
and fevers and the certainty of God’s
malicious ending. Where death lay sleeping,

we woke death up to sort our morals from
our memories. We, the conquerors of
cracked earth and merciless yellow sky, moved

on without apology and death stayed
behind, where we left it. All this, all this,
we cried, we did for Peace.

What We Can’t Forgive

Martina Reisz Newberry's picture

Martina Reisz Newberry’s most recent book is WHAT WE CAN’T FORGIVE. She is also the author of LATE NIGHT RADIO, PERHAPS YOU COULD BREATHE FOR ME. HUNGER, AFTER THE EARTHQUAKE: POEMS 1996-2006, NOT UNTRUE & NOT UNKIND (Arabesques Press) and RUNNING LIKE A WOMAN WITH HER HAIR ON FIRE: Collected Poems (Red Hen Press)., Ms. Newberry is the winner of i.e. magazine’s Editor’s Choice Poetry Chapbook Prize for 1998: AN APPARENT, APPROACHABLE LIGHT., She is the author of LIMA BEANS AND CITY CHICKEN: MEMORIES OF THE OPEN HEARTH—a memoir of her father—published by E.P. Dutton and Co. in 1989., She has written four novels and several books of poetry, has been included in Ascent Aspirations first Anthology and has been widely published in literary magazines and books such as: Amelia, Ascent Aspirations, Bellingham Review, Southern Review of Poetry, and others., Newberry lives in Palm Springs, California with her husband Brian and their benevolent dictator/cat, Gato. All her books are available from

Last updated August 05, 2011