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The Middle of an Ordinary War

by Lara O'Connor

When Joan of Arc does the dishes,
I bet the water is scalding
and she doesn’t wear gloves.


When Joan of Arc folds laundry,
socks shield their partners
and shirts tremble
into formation.


Joan feeds the cat,
and the cat
knows his place:
above the dog,
below God.


She takes the trash out
in full battle armor.
The neighbors hide
behind closed doors,
wondering why
there aren’t pizza boxes
in her recycling.


Joan of Arc loads
her metal horse
with groceries,
proud the conqueror
of BOGO.
The children
she wasn’t supposed to have
fall in line.
Her troubles unfortunately don’t.

Teeth are brushed with swords.
Horns announce the dawn and dark.
It’s effective, though it annoys


And yet: she wonders what it’s all for.
When God in the field
will show up again.
When the Order will come.


Any god.
Any order.
I mean, this can’t be it.


She yells at the sky
but no one yells back;
the neighbors consider
calling the cops.


Joan of Arc, stern as lightning
tells herself get it together:
act normal
be a lady
brush your hair.


But the questions
like the mornings
like laundry
keep coming: where, why, how?



Miracle is as rare as
mystery is full of shadow,
and neither soften the bombs.


So live the question.
Whatever that means.


The earth goes on
spinning in its grave;
the sun is on fire, too
after all.

About the Author

Lara became a writer in 2017 when she accidentally landed in Martha Beck’s inaugural Write into Light course. Since then she has published several essays and poems. The most important thing she learned is to tell the truth.

She is the mother of three boys and lives in Maryland at the top of the Chesapeake Bay. She loves to cook and spends a lot of time thinking about food waste, food insecurity, and saving the world.

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