LOVE AND THE NATIONAL DEFENSE
If love were a dirty bomb, you could set
it off in Washington and it would spread
into the suburbs unseen, contaminate
the air and water. People would breathe it, feed
on it unknowingly and slowly love
would infiltrate their lungs, make their fingers burn.
In a week, you’d see them start to pair up, leave
the office early for lunch and not return;
even the evangelists are born again—
this time to love—they grab the nearest nun,
and scientists are too involved to look
for cures, not that anyone cares. Attack
on US, the foreign press reports
with real concern, seeing the SUVs
abandoned on the interstates, the airports
unguarded, army generals on their knees.
Don’t they know love is always like that,
tearing you out of the spaces you once thought
meant something, making you forget each
last defense, the guns rusting along the beach.
Used With Permission.
“Dr. Holly,” earned her B.A. from Rice University, her M.F.A. from Georgia State University, and her Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati. Her poems and translations have appeared in national literary journals, including The Crab Orchard Review, The Formalist, and The Marlboro Review. She has presented at the International Reading Association and the National Association for the Education of Young Children, among other conferences. Her children’s poetry has been described as “refreshing,” and “engaging.” Dr. Holly teaches at Marymount University in Arlington, VA.