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Summer 2007 Edition
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Author: Arlene Distler
Location: Brattleboro, Vermont

Arlene Distler was a 2005 finalist for the James Hearst poetry prize. She has been published in North American Review, The Chrysalis Reader, Kalliope, and the Outrider Press anthology, Freedom's Just Another Word. She is among the founders of the grass-roots writers' organization, Write Action, which has promoted the literary arts in southern Vermont since 1999. Ms. Distler has five children, including a stepdaughter, and has lived in Vermont since 1969. She is an arts reviewer for Art New England, the Brattleboro Reformer, and other periodicals, and is currently at work on a manuscript for a first book of her poems.

For the Women of Afghanistan

They seem to be flying,
Their burquas dark wings as they speed
From one sand-colored house
To the next, dark angels
Bringing light.
They sit with other women,
Their faces exposed, defiant.

Don't be afraid, it is your duty to vote,
They tell themselves, and each other.
What is there to lose?
Stone walls, stares of men like hot coals.

In the houses, pots of steaming lentils,
Flat bread baking.
Dust under fingernails, toes bound
In strips of hide.
Outside, guns, and the fruit
That cries blood.

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