Heart / härt / noun

Philip Pardi
They made her watch. Reached in through the ribs. handed it to her. told her to cook it. Frying pan in hand. habit took over. and when it seemed the underside was done. she reached forward to flip it. From outside. gunfire. near the river. That's enough. came the voice. bring it. She turned off the flame and took hold of the pan and turned toward them. Three at the table. two at the door. black helmets high. boots caked. each with a fork. Pan onto table then felt for the wall behind. From here. she could see his body. pants a mess. arms strangely out. Blood. a chicken pecking at corn. red prints. The machete they had used. Years later. during the cease-fire. she lived in a refugee camp. The blue and white vans of the U.N. came and went. and it never failed to surprise her that the peacekeepers wore uniforms. bore guns. Sometimes young people from other countries would visit. and once she was asked to serve coffee while they talked with some of the men. Mauricio was talking. We must bury our swords. he said. We must move forward and remember that we are all human beings. he said. He looked up at her. She was standing with the tray in both hands. listening. We must remember, he began but he had to look down before continuing. El Salvador means 'the savior.'

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Philip Pardi is the author of Meditations on Rising and Falling (University of Wisconsin Press), which won the Brittingham Poetry Prize and the Writers’ League of Texas Poetry Award. His poems and translations have appeared in Seneca ReviewTranslation Review, Gettysburg Review, Best New Poets, An Introduction to the Prose Poem, and elsewhere. He teaches at Bard College.



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