Three Poems

but what I saw was a little girl
dressed in white, the white
of sun-bleached bone and ash
from a too-hot flame, she sat
in the middle of the ruin, bodies
strewn around in her destruction:
a toddler
the only eye of a stumbling
hurricane. Broken crates
and grey rubble of a city
on bended knee sparked
out in a perfect circle from her
tiny form: a sculpture
I didn’t yet understand; she looked
around—her eyes as bright
as spell-fire and as grey
as the stormy sky above—and she saw me, 
her small brown arms lifting, 
her young eyes filling
with tears.


Grey lonely walls, crumbling at the corners
Tiny flowers and rough grasses break up through the cracks
Once smooth white flagstone, now grey and green and splitting
From the earth’s own shifting, easing its itchy, scaly skin
The sun streaks through missing roofs, 
Slanting down

Laughter sounds. 
From the past or future or time apart from time?
Around the corner a little girl dances, twirling over the broken stone, 
She picks the small flowers in the courtyard, and ruffles the heavy air
The ruins stretch on, like a world in themselves, 
A castle, an archway, a courtyard

Silence. Stillness. No one walks through the doorways
Stairwells crumble into nothing: one step, two step, gone, 
Leading to places and people that can no longer be reached
And the shadows—picturesque—change only with the light
Grey and white and shadow and sun
Dust settles

Lavender shadows
Snippets of song, of speech, of movement from before
There is an old smell, a heavy smell, that clings to nothing
Between the walls are spaces, between the spaces are doorways
A spell, a key, a wisp of a form
A gentle vibration


Memory wanders
without a name, flickers
like shadows in the deep, calls
like homes never found. 

One step, two step, gone—
stairs to nowhere end; archways
that ever lead back
to the beginning. 

Phantom footsteps tread
the stone, softly, like
promises breathed to ears, kisses stolen. 

A cloak shimmers
like the veiling of the day, 
then fades, weightless, back
into the dusk.

FRANCES KOZIAR has writing published in 40+ literary magazines, and is seeking an agent for a diverse NA fantasy novel. One of her poems shortlisted for the 2019 Molotov Cocktail Shadow Award Contest, and her poetry has appeared in Acta Victoriana, Snapdragon, and Thin Air Magazine. She is a young (disabled) retiree and a social justice advocate, and she lives in Kingston, Ontario, Canada.