Diamonds on the Soles of Her Shoes


Fourth of July, 1987.
Oh say can you see
We donated her corneas,
the only organs undamaged.
A man in Wisconsin saw
his toddler granddaughter
for the first time.

Nobody raced
to pick up the phone
when it rang Saturday,
by the dawn’s early light.
Outside the window mist hovered,
her father paced the lawn, pleaded
with the rising sun.

The house wrapped its walls
around her friends as they gathered,
told stories, listened to Paul Simon,
Steve Winwood, the music played
in her hospital room.
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming.

Showers of red, white and blue
streaked the night,
bombs bursting in air,
an impromptu wake.

O’er the land of the free
Released from pain,
from tubes and machines,
the week-long vigil
in the trauma center.

entrust her to the rocket’s red glare,
the moon, the stars
and the home of the brave.

— Nina Bennett

This poem was previously published in The Broadkill Review, Vol 4 Issue 4.

Nina Bennett is the author of Sound Effects, a chapbook published in 2013 by Broadkill Press as part of their Key Poetry Series. Her poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including Kansas City Voices, Red Poppy Review, Houseboat, Bryant Literary Review, Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine, The Broadkill Review, and American Society: What Poets See. Other publications include Forgotten Tears: A Grandmother’s Journey Through Grief (2005), and Five Bridges (2013), a literary anthology of work by the TransCanal Writers.

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