It turns out however that I was deeply Mistaken about the end of the world The body in flames will not be the body In flames but just a house fire ignored The black sails of that solitary burning Boat rubbing along the legs of lovers Flung into a Roman sky by a carousel The lovers too sick in their love To notice a man drenched in fire on a porch Or a child aflame mistaken for a dog Mistaken for a child running to tell of a bomb That did not knock before it entered In Gaza with its glad tidings of abundant joy In Kazimierz a god is weeping In a window one golden hand raised Above his head as if he’s slipped On the slick rag of the future our human Kindnesses unremarkable as the flies Rubbing their legs together while standing On a slice of cantaloupe Children You were never meant to be human You must be the grass You must grow wildly over the graves
Copyright © 2018 by Roger Reeves. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on June 19, 2018, by the Academy of American Poets.
About this Poem
“Stevie Wonder. Czesław Miłosz. Stanisław Wyspiański. Solmaz Sharif. Palestine. Kazimierz. Langston Hughes. Wisława Szymborska. Kraków. The poem is holding many conversations at once. Hopefully, one of them is with you. I wrote this poem for the children that have yet to be born, which is what I believe all writing is for—the future, both near and far.”
Roger Reeves's first book, King Me, was published by Copper Canyon Press in 2013 and was awarded the 2014 Larry Levis Reading Prize and a John C. Zacharis First Book Award.
Date Published: 2018-06-19
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/children-listen