WORST IN MEMORY

Oldtimers claim it was

the worst in memory, snow

high as houses, blocks of ice

smashing off roofs, accidents

on the freeway, screams and broken glass.

Some went up the mountain and were lost,

buried forever in drowsy white.

 

I dreamed of masks, the worst of the century,

the most casualties, massive injuries,

war impersonal. I watched them milling

in airports for the first flight out:

Stalin, Hitler, Tojo, Mao, Khomeini,

Sukarno, Franco, McNamara, Saddam,

Pol Pot, Karadzic, Syngman Rhee.

 

I had nightmares of you leaving.

So many phantoms rise when the air

grows dark. I tried to

rouse you, explain it was a season

screaming through our evenings that numbed us

so we could no longer speak

of anything but gray.

 

Now it’s over. My mouth reeks of bombwater,

my tongue of gun barrels. I stare through

the window of radiance and poppies. The clouds

break but snow still sits outside the cavern

of our great doubt. We struggle to wake

and forget; we raise out teeth for sugar.

The anima claws outward for bright.

That is the promise.

 

 

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