Thursday, May 17, 2007

Stars Are Better Than War

Stars Are Better Than War (Eamon Grennan, The Cortland Review)

is what the chalked scrawl on the footpath says.
But think of the trouble one would cause, falling,
its blind havoc of brightness without warning—
though for days your cats would be scratching
in and out of the house, tail-hairs spiked
for no reason. And why are the birds flying
upside down in ragged formations, or a ragtaggle
raft of geese rambling North in November
against the natural drag of goose-blood? All
the patterns that would shatter if any errant star
pitched us its curve ball breaking into rose
and gas, all that lethal radiance that would
leave us, at best, ash? Every night now
your dream-life is full of exploding cars, train
wrecks, bridges burning, children disappearing—
one ache after another finding its local, homely,
known face, ferreting you out till you lie there
in five o'clock not-light, your eyes trying to read
the future in the leaf pattern on the curtains,
in the ceiling cracks or the whispers and little
metallic moans of the heating system, or in the
steady breath beside you, the precise particular
clench of the hand sliding towards and finding
your hand, and holding, till you slip back into sleep
with its war-dreams, word-glimmers, shooting stars.

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