Holocaust by Chapman Hood Frazier

(for the Wabinaki)

In Rwanda there is a blue water lily
that only blooms in pools
where a drop of blood has been.

In Poland a yellow bloom appears
in the shape of a star that only opens
once a year and has no scent.

In Darfur along the banks of the Blue Nile
a red thistle blooms as if
from the mouths of children.

In Armenia, there is a violet vine
that sends its tendrils through the eyes
of skulls and blooms on each anniversary
of the cleansing.

In Cambodia there is a green sprout like rice
that rises each summer where one
can still hear the whispers from the dead
in the breezes above the killing fields

while in Vukovar a mound of moss
grows along the roadside with roots
the color of bone while in Srebrenica
a blue mushroom grows
in the shape of a helmet bleeding purple

and here, in America, in the mountains
of North Carolina to the waterways of Nova Scotia,
a vermillion flower oozes pollen the color of blood
as the new moon strikes along the rocky ledges there

these are the colors the grandmothers
weave into the masks of the unborn.


Chapman Hood Frazier is a Professor in Residence at James Madison University and was poetry editor for the Dos Passos Review, published at Longwood University, and guest editor for The Hampden Sydney Poetry Review. He has won several awards for both his poetry and prose.

He is currently working on a collection of interviews with contemporary poets from the United States and Northern Ireland, titled “First Word, Last Word: Conversations with Contemporary Poets.

He lives in Rice, VA with his wife, Deborah Carrington, and they are currently initiating a progressive, holistic educational program in Southside Virginia called The Sunrise Learning Center.