Green Hills Literary Lantern

I would rather write about peace


it’s far too cold for wandering alone without a coat,

just harsh enough to stay at the window looking out,

hand pressed against the pane.


the streets are full of strangers carrying burdens

no one can guess. there are no replacement parts left;

I see it in their faces.


some days I don’t fret so much about nuts and bolts,

planned obsolescence; other days this machine

of flesh won’t let me forget.


once you’ve left the house there’s no turning back;

it doesn’t matter that you have a spare key,

that’s not what will save you.


curl up like a beggar sheltered in the church vestibule,

but leave your faith behind; you’ll find time enough

come morning to believe.


those bruises; they’re not from sleeping on concrete

or fists against skin. you got them from the soft places

where you thought you were safe.


it’s ok to make plans if they ease you, just know:

traffic alerts mean nothing, love is homeopathic

and fear is musky like pheromones.


as long as the bombs land somewhere else, we’re free.




Cheryl Latif earned semi-finalist and honorable mention in New Millennium Writings’ nineteenth and twentieth contests, respectively; her poems have been part of public arts projects and have appeared in journals and anthologies including New Millennium Writings, Comstock Review, and So Luminous the Wildflowers, and will be included in the fall issue of Spillway. She lives in Seattle.