by Stephanie Minteer
In the woods
they lay themselves down for us,
so many bodies piled one upon the other.
We cannot rescue them all,
bring them home for a decent burial;
we must leave them on the battlefield
to decay and rot.
They lie still in the snow, no more breezes,
no more leaves or pine cones to bear.
We step over them, on them,
breaking their angled limbs,
aligning their souls’ arrows homeward.
We look for identification,
her arm, his torso, but there are too many
bodies to count, to account for.
So we chop them into pieces
and construct a funeral pyre,
avert our eyes as flames incinerate
their earthly trappings.
We burn limbs for a week;
their sacrifice warms
our frozen hands and feet,
their majesty reduced to blackness.
In spring, the ashes scattered,
yellow-eyed daisies shoot up
where none had been before.
Thinner now, the maples begin to bud.
Topless pines shimmer light green.
Stephanie Minteer was born and raised in the frozen Northland of Minnesota. She was hired right out of university to teach in a New Hampshire “supervisory union” for a year and returned in the mid-seventies for good. She has been a ski racer, a paraoptometric assistant, a children’s librarian, and a Spanish teacher. Winter sports, hiking, kayaking, travel, and reading are her favorite pastimes.
Carl-Peter Mayer is a silk-screen artist and also enjoys stone balancing and photography. He has been involved in screen printing for over 40 years, from fine art to industrial applications. He resides in Franconia, New Hampshire, and Sharon, Massachusetts, and is a life-long Cannon/Mittersill skier. His parents emigrated from Germany and built a home in Franconia for its similarities to Franconia in their native Bavaria.