The dead not cremated in their homes
were stacked in funeral pyres in the streets
and torched with flamethrowers.
Her spire cross, twisted into a bombsight,
lay hidden beneath the ruins
for half a century.
Until a new cross, forged in steel
and burnished with gilt by the son of her enemy,
resurrects her random stones to bring
hope and reconciliation to a city
drowned by fire and risen
from the ashes of its mortal clay.
How many died? Who knows the number?
a great stone asks in silence.
The answer lies within us.
The cities lie within us.
Author’s Note: Dresden, the Frauenkirche is a fragment from Cities Within Us, and was first published in The Copperfield Review.
Peter Taylor is a Canadian poet whose writing has appeared internationally in journals and anthologies, including Aperçus Quarterly, Construction, The Copperfield Review, Contemporary Verse 2, Eunoia, Frostwriting, Ink, Sweat & Tears, The Linnet’s Wings, Nether, Pirene’s Fountain, Poetry Australia, Pyrta, and StepAway Magazine. His books include Trainer, The Masons, and Aphorisms, and his experimental verse play on the Civil War, Antietam, won honorable mention in the War Poetry Contest in Northampton, Massachusetts. winningwriters.com/past-winning-entries/antietam.