we move though the ink cloud
of all the others’ retreating steps,
the dust of reaping the dry ground
in autumn when only scanty stalks
of unwholesome wheat stick sickly
up from the damaged earth.
hands moving upward into the
frowning sky, the withholding
sky that withstands all our prayers
and our slow suffering.
bruises bone-deep, and rembrance
of these wars given over, given up,
re-fought a thousand times as we
sit upon the benighted stoop of
our rotting houses and think of
things we may have done better,
had we only known, had we only
been different, but we are doomed
to never change, to always be ourselves,
and that misery stings like sweat
leaking into a cut.
we squint at the dim stars above,
thinking all the same of dime stores
of the elder forgetfulness, of raspberry
malts and bicycle spokes, of pick-up sticks
and Lincoln Logs, of lying quiet upon
the green lawn where it was safe, and
the things we knew seemed true,
and parents, leaders, gods, even,
seemed to have the answers.