Nickel Mines

Peace is shattered. Years later, a small poem comes unbidden, its music unearthing the unseen, twisting time and space and perspective into an oh of grief, a catalyst for peace--

You can’t see
the small bones
of the five
girls who stopped
growing that day,
nor the worms
grown since their
decay, nor their
mothers’ arms
warm around
their killer’s

beloved, oh—
the eldest said
shoot me first,
stood in harm’s
way unafraid
of death wearing
an apron, like
her mother,
baking bread
for the one
with the gun.

About the Author

Barbara Nickel

Barbara Nickel of Yarrow, B.C., writes books of poetry and fiction for young people and adults,for which she has won many awards, including being shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award. An accomplished violinist, her work is sometimes a response to composers such as Mozart, Bach and Haydn. The CMW journal previously published a contribution by her in the For Young Readers issue in May 2010. Forthcoming in 2015 is a children’s picture book, A Boy Asked the Wind. Barbara graduated from Goshen College and earned an M.F.A. at the University of British Columbia. She has taught creative writing at the University of British Columbia and Canadian Mennonite University. Her poem was inspired by reflections on her family’s visit to Bonaire in 2012. http://www.barbaranickel.ca/about-barbara-nickel/