War is Fought by the Poor

for Amy

It is fall and the Ladies are alone with themselves again, alone in a half-empty city with distant reports of war. It is cold, and they have swaddled themselves in lengthy coats and sturdy gloves; good wool and strong leather, materials that last.

Each morning, some few of the Ladies rise from the windows and take flight to the front. They perch in the trees overlooking the battle lines, long coats hanging down, watching owlishly through their lorgnettes as the war moves back and forth, moving now six feet this way, now seven feet that.

They take to the skies again when the shadows have tinted the leaves gray and cross over to the other side. Their knives of glass are sharp, sharp; their coats sweep their feet from the ground. They visit the enemy tents in the evening, leave some piece of their own silence behind, here and there.

They like moonless nights, and full moon nights. The air is chill, the sky is wide, the Ladies are free-moving.

Home again, they shiver in the cafes, wrap bloodless hands around watery coffee, tell tales of what they have seen. The war continues.