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Bittersweet

December 5, 2009

by Christina Pacosz

Snow drifts on the Rocky Mountains
Buffalo herds
race across the ice
The wind blows
so strongly
as the sun fights its way
to a fresh new day

—Alton Fred Brown
April 17, 1984 – April 10, 2001

Bitter-root
bitter cress
bitter-bloom
bitter weed
Bitter Gourd

Awash in bitterness
like moonlight
at forty below
midden heaps
beneath old city snow

Berries of Kansas hawthorn
smashed on sidewalks
or shat by birds
hungry in this drought
Bittersweet orange

Decades of mourning
a member of the family
Celastraceae
called Wahoo in the Audubon guide
An American tree
its powdered bark
a purgative
Purple berries
winter fare
for cardinals and chickadees

Death’s inexorable plow
laying open furrow after furrow
of virgin prairie
Osage orange
eastern cedar
honey locust

The sad butchery
that buried him
on his seventeenth birthday
and before that his father
murdered
in front of his two-year-old eyes

Then dust and grit
March gusts pelt
the windshield with
almost two centuries later

Bitter-root
bitter cress
bitter weed
Bitter-bloom
bitter fruit
Bitter Gourd

Buffalo-ooooo-ooo
O    OOO    O  oo  o

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Christina Pacosz (webpage) has been writing and publishing prose and poetry for almost half a century. Her collection Notes from the Red Zone, originally published in 1983 by Seal Press in their anti-nuclear series, was selected by Ron Mohring as the inaugural collection in the ReBound Series from Seven Kitchens Press. Her work has appeared recently in Jane’s Stories III: Women Writing Across Boundaries, Pemmican, and Umbrella. She has been teaching urban youth for the past decade on both sides of the Missouri/Kansas state line where she lives with her husband.

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  1. Irene Honeycutt
    December 7, 2009 at 12:12 pm

    Christina Pacosz captures loss, tragedy–moves from personal grief to universal loss and sorrow over the loss of human beings and animals. The Buffalo cry resonates with the weeping earth. Her poem: a lament to read again and again….

  2. December 7, 2009 at 2:51 pm

    The wail of grief for everything we’ve lost is palpable in this poem. Christina Pacosz, more than any other poet living or dead, reaches deep into my spirit so thoroughly I cannot help but share the sorrow.

  3. Farideh Hassanzadeh-Mostafavi
    December 10, 2009 at 2:56 pm

    Poetry loves Christina , that is why all the poems I read from christina is deeply
    believable. Her poems make possible for the reader to awake his or her feelings and thoughts and feed conscience.

  4. Kimberly
    December 14, 2009 at 11:54 am

    Another powerful poem by a poet whose words always enrich my reading of the world.

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