Wartime Lullaby

For Abigail Ann

You were born at night, Florence,
six weeks early, with war.
We must have craved you here.

Bush bombed Baghdad
while we fought you screaming
into a dark room.

I was born at night, too, you know,
while homesick boys smoldered in Vietnam jungles.
We’re night-war babies, you and I.

After, I went down to the hospital lobby
and watched TV.

No news of you. Only tracers, mortar fire,
smoke, quiet. This way war seemed timid
and amateurish, the deadly volleys
like the fumblings of bashful lovers.

After a while, peace bores, is as insufferable as war.
Conflict is, after all, contact.

Nothing is what you expect, little girl.
Being born is commonplace.
War, they say, is Hell.

Life, Florence, is a long, luscious mess.

Steve Lambert’s writing has recently appeared in Silver Apples Magazine (Ireland), The Cortland Review, MadHat Lit and Red River Review. His story, “A Helping Hand,” is forthcoming in Red Truck Review. He is a three-time finalist (and third-place winner) in contests held by Glimmer Train Press, and has been nominated for Best of the Net and Million Writers Awards. He lives in North Florida with his wife and daughter, and is an MFA candidate at UTEP.

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