Selected Poems from Noon Until Night

The Road

Mothers with newborns in knotted slings,
on their heads impossible towers of things,

             the old in carts, the children by the hand,
these people crossing a cratered land

                         are more than metaphor;
but they are also metaphor.

We are the truth to one another. Look:
don’t wait for some historian’s book

            to understand this (then it will be too late.)
This is the unchecked power of the State,

                         the end of empathy, the rise of Mars,
the avarice that in the end mars

all our laws and medicine and art.
Show me one fleeing person’s heart

            and I will show you a thousand griefs
for loves, hopes, memories, beliefs

                        that war has undermined.
Corpses plowed under, mined

roads and fields, the groves and orchards
poisoned, fathers and brothers tortured,

            hope abandoned with the other heavy furniture —
it isn’t much of a road, the future,

                         if you don’t know where
it goes or it goes nowhere.


A day nears, feast
of a saint unborn,
unlike our forebears’
or any we have known.

We know how dark
are powers kept in darkness
(a broken lock, a stopped clock,
masks, and lies.)

When we wake
that unexampled day,
will we believe ourselves
free or broken?

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