. For Sophie Pakaluk Barrows based on The Appalling Strangeness of the Mercy of God by Michael Pakaluk in pie quebrado meter Before God made her soul and mind, Before her parents’ genes entwined __To start life’s spark, To them each priest and doctor bade That no more children should be made __To board life’s barque. For if her mother were with child, The hormones might spread cancer wild __From one stray sprout, And anti-cancer weapons, maybe, Could be fatal to the baby; __They’d be ruled out. With eyes of faith the future seeing, They brought their daughter into being— __No unmade waif. No grounds were there for doctors’ fears— The cancer stayed away for years! __The birth was safe. Although her mother still is missed, She’s still so grateful to exist __By their endeavor. Thanks to her parents’ sacrifice, Someday she’ll live in Paradise __With God forever. . Poet’s note: Sophie Pakaluk Barrows was born on April 16, 1993. She is now a farm wife and assistant director to a high school Shakespeare Troupe in Maryland. She has four children as of the writing of this poem. . . Arlington Vast fields of graves, in grass arrayed— How many times had Taps been played? How many families lost their heads? How many sons left empty beds? They gave their lives to save my land, Each by an officer’s command, And yet, myself? What had I done To be my country’s worthy son? The image never went away— The grid of gravestones, here to stay, In ranks and files, neatly lined, Still marks a lattice in my mind. . . Joshua C. Frank works in the field of statistics and lives near Austin, Texas. His poetry has also been published in the Asahi Haikuist Network.