Wartime Pantoum (audio only)
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A lot more malaise and a little more grief every day,
aware that all seasons, the stormy, the sunlit, are brief every day.
I don’t know the name of the hundredth drowned child, just the names
of the oligarchs trampling the green, eating beef every day,
while luminous creatures flick, stymied, above and around
the plastic detritus that’s piling up over the reef every day.
Tell us that line again, the thing about the dark times…
“When the dark times come, we will sing about the dark times.”
They’ll always be wrong about peace when they’re wrong about justice…
Were you wrong, were you right, insisting about the dark times?
The traditional fears, the habitual tropes of exclusion
Like ominous menhirs, close into their ring about the dark times.
in late afternoon light, soon
day will be done, not
the work incumbent on it
—whatever that might have been—
Gnarls of an old text
in the other alphabet:
can I unknot them,
reweave mirror fabric of
Liminal space where
exiles with dictionaries
lose themselves: barzakh,
Arabic isthmus, the span
from death to resurrection
in Farsi: limbo,
where Socrates murmurs to
in contrapuntal cognates,
they hear fardous, paradise.