Remember the father's unguarded wish
for the young men who failed
to return from the well.
This is the wide world.
We want to think that wishing
can make it so.
Pictures of bodies, downed in ambush,
are these birches, fallen in snow.
Worried little sister
takes a bit of bread, a chair to rest,
her mother's ring.
She goes to the glass mountain.
Who would not sacrifice
the little finger of her left hand
for a key to death's door
if it will save them?
Remember that magic thinking
is no substitute for wisdom.
No more than religion
is a recipe for peace.
Daniel Lusk teaches in the English department at the University of Vermont. His latest book is Kissing the Ground: New & Selected Poems (Onion River, 1999).