Behind a House
Tara Ballard

there grows a red-faced poppy.
She paints

between two slabs of stone,
petals cupped around an ink-filled heart
like Odette’s

outstretched feathers,
a noon-zephyr of calm
following discontent—
the aftermath

of worship, slight wonder
of haze, where a mother’s pain
meets the weight of God

and the last days
of shiver find a spring
sun, where the laundry hung

on a narrow line
like the blossom and herb

the earth lifts up
as offering.

Tara Ballard and her husband have been living in the Middle East and West Africa for the last seven years. She holds an MFA from the University of Alaska, Anchorage, and her poems have been published or recently accepted by Cutthroat, The Southampton Review, Salamander, HEArt Online, One, and other literary magazines.