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This poem I wrote during my first visit to El Salvador, in early 1994. It had been several years since the peace accords had been signed, ending that country’s civil war. It was finally possible to enter the country without difficulties – and to travel anywhere. I decided to spend a spell in Morazán Department, one of the hardest hit areas during the civil war, a place where the people were isolated and had to do for themselves. A place with many repoblaciones – villages established by refugees returning from camps on the other side of the border, in Honduras. This is where El Mozote is, where Segundo Campos is, where Perquín –the FMLN guerrillas’ capital – is. I was stunned by the wars’ scars upon the landscape – and the her/histories the people shared with me.


L_caputoby Lorraine Caputo14 Jul 2014

In the late morning heat
the mountains fold into haze
a tree-barren patchwork
from fire bombs
and napalm

A dust devil whirls
growing larger
& higher
carrying dry soil
dead leaves
into the air
It twists towards me
& engulfs me ….

A young boy walks past
alongside a calf
a cow, her udders swaying

Large black birds
soar over the valleys
dipping on wingtips
higher & further away

published in :
The Rockhurst Review (Spring 1995)