Stephanie Brown

Peace comes after the war.

Not before—we didn’t know there was peace.

We weren’t sure war was coming, but it felt funny.

There was an urgency to have the good time had by all.

Peace.  The wreckage.  The new house from the broken beams.

The work.


It’s never forgotten, as the hammers go on from 7 to 7

An the burned toys picked out from the ashes.

The rest of the mess taken to the trash with gloves on.

And the good time had by all—

There in the mess—

Peace is not a time of rest, no.

I leave you peace, my peace I give you,

The say each week

When I go to meditate on the war, the waste, the thing.

And we are told to take the peace out into the world with us.

The mess I cleaned up, the hammers from 7 to 7, but it’s over.

Go on.


The hard times are over: let the bon temps roulez.

I wish it could be that way.

But no matter: Mardi Gras came and went and now it is Lent.

I went and buried the dead.

I ministered to the sick: he lay detoxing each afternoon till six.

I had lived on Easy Street, honey, don’t forget it.

It will never be the same for me again, don’t doubt it.


Now it is time to pull down the shades and work deep into the night.

Go on.

Peace be with you.  Don’t fight

Found In Volume 34, No. 02
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Stephanie Brown
About the Author

Stephanie Brown is the author of Domestic Interior (University of Pittsburgh Press) and Allegory of the Supermarket (University of Georgia Press).  Her poems and essays have appeared in many recent anthologies.  She was awarded and NEA Fellowship in 2001.