No more flags and banners!
No more of my endless good ideas!
In the hall of acquisitions the goods are readied.
In the walled rooms of learning the papers
are exchanged, the talk goes on
among drawn faces of young students.
In an ordinary February, what could happen?
I can imagine hunger, quavery
emptiness of nothing to eat and not knowing when.
Cut off, amputated in a cold basement with no news,
sharp static, a green transistor radio.
O mother and father I prematurely grieved,
where are you now that I need to lose you?
Ordinary mornings we rose and ate together,
dressed and went out into the world.
Phantom mother, your face a red and purple scrape,
your hat askew and your left ear bleeding,
in the back seat of a stranger’s car.This thing
had happened: they found you sitting
on a stone wall where you had rolled away
from the car’s tires, brought you
first to me and I did not know you.
In a glare of hospital lights, they took
my blood and gave it to you.What can happen
had happened, and our lives went limp and small.
How can I speak about this?
A flat sky, gray yet almost stunning
against heavy snow and a red sun rising.
I feel a cold that will
not stop, sound that has overrun
all meaning. Already the fires are close,
and the fields are burning.
Copyright © 2017 Maggie Anderson
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, LLC on behalf of Four Way Books.