Today's poem is by Carol Quinn
for Brian Turner
That we might be rootless, ruthless, industrious, dust
That we might travel far from the places we were born, becoming a new
That we might commute when the shade of reddening leaves is like
daylight through closed eyes
We form a swift tributary. In the valley below, there's the ghost of an
On the radio, someone says it would be better if their families acted as
though they were already gone
Everyone is trying to pass a procession of cars.
Some traditions mark an earlier necessity. The wagons that once carried
out artillery returned with the dead.
When Whitman tended his wounded, coffins were scarce. The dead were
sometimes only wrapped in their banners.
I catch up with the lead car. Through one of its windows, I see a patch of
They are the stars before sunrise.
If he one below that sky returned like Lazarus, he or she would wake in
a strange hemisphere, with constellations like legions on parade or graves
on a battlefield
Like orchards in their lines
He or she might never find the way home.
Everyone keeps passing them, trying to keep moving in the cold.
On the radio, they say stop loss as if something could still be saved.
Deep within the combustion engines, matter gives up the ghost like water
going over a wall.
Copyright © 2009 Carol Quinn All rights reserved
Cider Press Review
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission
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