“Red Army” by Megan Stolz

Can you see them through the trees?

Crisp, red orchards; gather wood to burn.

The hills are quiet this time of year.

We don’t expect visitors.

 

Crisp, red orchards; gather wood to burn;

raw winter, chilling—

We don’t expect visitors.

We keep to ourselves.

 

Raw winter, chilling—

strangers don’t linger long.

We keep to ourselves.

Surrender. Don’t shoot. Silence.

 

Strangers don’t linger long.

Can you see them through the trees?

Surrender. Don’t shoot. Silence.

The hills are quiet this time of year.

 

 

Megan Stolz is a California expat living and working in the DC metro suburbs with a chatty cat, a minor coffee addiction, and a red pen constantly tucked into her hair. She studied writing at Hollins University and the University of Baltimore. Her work has recently appeared in Rogue Agent, The Fourth River, Noble/Gas Qtrly, and others. She tweets semi-regularly @megan_stolz. 

“Red Army” is a response to a sculpture of the same name by Ray Smith. It is part of the sculpture garden at Kentuck Knob, a Frank Lloyd Wright house in southern Pennsylvania. I went to Kentuck Knob during a poetry retreat run by a friend of mine, and she gave us several prompts for the sculptures and the house. I don’t remember the specific prompt for “Red Army,” but there was an emphasis on repetition, so I chose a pantoum. I visited on a quiet Saturday afternoon in October, and I wrote this poem in an attempt to capture the eeriness I felt walking among the rows of metal human figures with chipping red paint.

All photos were taken by the author and used with permission.

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