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After the Latest Victory

ISSUE:  Spring 1992
I call the sea. The wind calls back.
No seagulls’ cries, no sailors’ ghosts,
not mermaids, God, nor any human voice
disturbs the silence closing hard behind
the last reverberations of that solitary cry.

Does sound just die? Or does the universe
reverberate with cries from Planet Earth?
Novenas, speeches, shouts, whole supplications
striking Jupiter, careening off the stars
like frozen screams or unsaid thoughts?

Only the wind, and the waves’ dull roar,
the dune grass dancing for the moon.
Behind me lies a continent asleep,
drunk with martial glory and an empire’s pride,
though each is transient as sand.

This continent was called the New Jerusalem.
So much hope and expectation carried
in the hearts of men and women brave
enough to hazard all in search of this.
Look what we have made of it.

In Fairmount Park, a girl is raped.
Her father is a soldier in the Middle East.
Her brother cannot read or write.
The rapist wants a pair of sneakers
like the ones he’s seen in Reebok ads.

The moon’s wide river rides the swells
from breakers to the dark horizon.
Above me, like a dignified procession,
the stars turn slowly through the night,
indifferent to our helplessness.


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