PoetryIssue 04 | April 2009

Three poems by Heather Derr-Smith

Walls of Byzantium

I go under the magenta blossoms of Judas Trees.
I still remember you. I’m no longer a pacifist.

There are red and white cylinders of Chestnuts,
Hanging like lit candles. They say it is painfully

Beautiful in April and May.
This is true all over the world.
God made spring for us as a test.

I barely got through customs. But I did.
I saw shoals of Tunny in the waters.
I went fishing from a boat.

One time the people made ships
From the wood of demolished houses
And the braided ropes of women’s hair.

I could step out on the back of the sea
And it would carry me.

It’s true. This city has been rebuilt for centuries. The walls keep going up.
I’m not afraid of war anymore.

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About the author

A visiting writer at Iowa State University, Heather Derr-Smith has published two books of poetry, Each End of the World (Main Street Rag Press, 2005) and The Bride Minaret (University of Akron Press, 2008). Derr-Smith has volunteered in a refugee camp in Gasinci, Croatia and has traveled to Damascus, Syria to interview Iraqi and Palestinian refugees. Her poems are influenced by multiple experiences and locations around the globe.

Read our current issue:


Two poems by Anne Babson
Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m. by Troy Cunio
Night Becomes Day Over the West by Megan Foley
Yukon River Aurora by D. B. Goman
Two Poems by David Havird
Cretan Love Letter by Emily Linstrom
Holland by Rick Mullin
Fear in Kenya by Kristina Pfleegor
The Lounge Lizard by Ed Shacklee
Two Poems by Sarah J. Sloat
Night Flight by Vicki Stannard
Koinonia Farms by Alina Stefanescu
Thessaloniki, Four a.m. by Anastasia Vassos
Imaginary Oceans by Jason Warren
Two Poems by F. J. Williams

Postcard prose

It’s Salty by Kelly Hill

Travel notes

Anchorage in the Great Land by Karen Benning
The Value of Small Money by Megan Hallinan
Screensaver by Sandra Larson
Thirty Cents by Tommy McAree
Gokarna by Kate McCahill
Going Places by Rachel Miller-Howard
Susanville CA: Notes From The Road by Susan Volchok