Eroded Halos
after watching a program on German television about exorcisms on young girls

omnipotent images
buried in Hitler’s eyes
depict faces
burning like winded candles
but turning colder
as young girls sleep,

awakening in tears
from mirages
bleeding like wounds
as they swell,
but these girls stay silent,
hoping for someone
to eradicate their doubts

about voices
making them talk aloud—
defying their edicts—
guiding their prayers when
they need answers
to questions about echoes
that now scream—

and they haven’t any
hint about sounds
they make during lonely
nocturnal outbursts
when some find themselves
as heathens,
trying to defeat a Devil
who gave heartache
to their now-grieving mothers,
and fathers talk
about their daughters
who want to escape
from what’s inside their skin—
except it’s healing,

trapping holy wars within
precious young virgins
who grew up with faith
for Heaven’s hearts,
but bright flesh turns
into ashes
as they infinitely burn

on imaginary crosses
to sacrifice their love
for morbid hatred,
consuming their desire
to give love,
but choice has been taken
from their hands,

although their soul direction
was to horizons
where they could forfeit
their troubles
for untainted beginnings
to fresh lives
where Forgiveness cradles them

from temptations,
but they became led astray
into situations
where anything goes as nothing
without sins
repeated against moral mortals
who seemed gullible—

like these timid girls
who once laughed
and would smile in every photo
because it was appropriate,
and no one knew their struggle—
until they shook
and someone found them shaking,

dripping with scars.


Christopher Stolle’s poetry has appeared most recently or is forthcoming in the Tipton Poetry Journal, Flying Island, Branches, Indiana Voice Journal, Black Elephant, “The Poetry Circus, Smeuse, The Gambler, and Sheepshead Review. He works as an acquisitions and development editor for Penguin Random House, and he lives in Richmond, Indiana.

Ira Joel Haber was born and lives in Brooklyn. He is a sculptor, painter, writer, book dealer,photographer and teacher. His work has been seen in numerous group shows both in the USA and Europe and he has had 9 one man shows including several retrospectives of his sculpture. His work is in the collections of The Whitney Museum Of American Art, New York University, The Guggenheim Museum, The Hirshhorn Museum,The Albright-Knox Art Gallery & The Allen Memorial Art Museum. Since 2006 His paintings, drawings, photographs and collages have been published in over 230 on line and print magazines. He has received three National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, two Pollock-Krasner grants, the Adolph Gottlieb Foundation grant and, in 2010, he received a grant from Artists’ Fellowship Inc. He currently teaches art to retired public school teachers at The United Federation of Teachers program in Brooklyn.