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University Kiss in a Time of War

By Melissa Tuckey

Two slight young women--
the smaller one
reaches for hands
leans close to give a kiss
to the taller girl
an in between things kiss
a so long for now kiss
and nothing breaks
no alarms are sounded
no one is injured
Other students pass without
comment or craning.
But the giver of the kiss looks back,
a quick glance over her shoulder
as if she's learned
that kisses can be dangerous.
I'm reminded of children who live
on the border between wars,
how farmers pay them
to go to rocky fields and find
landmines. Small hands
mostly agile enough to keep the bombs
from exploding; the farmers
hungry to return to their fields.

Added: Wednesday, July 2, 2014  /  Used with permission.
Melissa Tuckey
Photo by Dave R. Phillips.

Melissa Tuckey is a poet and literary activist.Tenuous Chapel, her book of poems, was selected by Charles Simic for the ABZ First Book Award in 2013. Other honors include a Black Earth Institute fellowship and a winter fellowship at Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She's received grants in support of her work from DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and Ohio Arts Council. Tuckey's poems have been anthologized in DC Poets Against the War anthology, Ecopoetry, Fire and Ink: Social Action Writing, and Truth to Power. Tuckey is a co-founder of Split This Rock where she currently serves as Eco-Justice Poetry Project Coordinator. She’s editor of Ghost Fishing: An Eco-Justice Poetry Anthology with University of Georgia Press. Melissa Tuckey lives in Ithaca, New York.

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