Author: Sondra Zeidenstein
Location: Goshen, Connecticut
Sondra Zeidenstein's poems have been published in magazines, journals and anthologies, including Taos Review, Women's Review of Books, Ms Magazine, MacGuffin, Mudfish, and in a chapbook collection entitled Late Afternoon Woman. A Detail in that Story is her first book. She is editor of several anthologies including A Wider Giving: Women Writing after a Long Silence, and Family Reunion: Poems about Parenting Grown Children, and publisher of Chicory Blue Press, a small literary press that focuses on writing by women past sixty.
The small black and white tv on the kitchen table
is tuned to the News Hour, Jim Lehrer
interviewing Mariane, wife of Danny Pearl,
and I canít get a sharp picture
or a voice that isnít breaking up.
I so want to hear
the widow of the decapitated man,
journalist who had been humiliated, tortured,
before he was killed. I remember
sheíd pled to his captors: take me in his place,
kill me. She has a right to speak.
Her girlish face fills the small screen.
We press in close, my husband and I,
like partisans in a cellar
glued to their short wave radios.
You are a journalist?
Will you go back to journalism?
Jim Lehrer keeps asking the same question
as if in the guaranteed safety of his newsroom
he canít believe her.
Yes, Iíll go back to Pakistan.
We journalists have a responsibility.
His hard-to-read eyes narrow.
But didnít you want to see those men
who took your husband killed?
Didnít you ever feel that?
Then I wanted everyone dead.
ButÖthe static is fading,
we can hear her, my husband weeping now,
she says it quietly, with assurance,
this woman, young, eight months pregnant,
in mourning: ultimately what happens is
violence brings more violenceÖit takes
a lot of courage to be nonviolent, you know...
Iím trying to come up with this courage myself.
This is the message
we have been listening for, isolated
through all the comfortless, bloodthirsty months.
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