Ira Joel Haber © 2006 All Rights Reserved
On the other side of the planet a volcano opens and spews. We’ve read such
news before, reminding us of our luck; but something about those pictures—a
farmer walking on a road turned white by an eruption a few days before; the
cloud of white smoke rising, the seam of fire splitting the mountain—takes
me completely. Far as the desert war, as the ancient woman found in another
mountain, tattoos in complicated designs covering all the skin, jewelry,
weapons—it’s another day. A girl was buried with her. The company tells
us the woman must have been a warrior, a priestess, something no one else
could be. They don’t know, but we’ve all heard the stories. They’re what
keep us, here, burbling, churning limbs, letting me know what to say when
the company comes: try this pie. That new paint really brightens the room.
Now that it’s spring I can open the window. No need to answer the phone.
Cells meet, combine, combine. Everyone has a religion, whatever they say.
The signs are everywhere—a broken egg; the home team suddenly winning,
losing; another explosion no one expected. The girl I never knew actually
called. She wants to meet, and I can’t disguise the excitement, though the
meaning remains a secret. So what if it’s all a dream?
It’s those new galaxies, something we can’t see that the experts know must
be there. How else explain being here at all in the face of the universe
flying apart? Winter rain, sneeze and cough, another friend’s divorce—
nothing new—but the award’s there too; and that great sex the porn movie
imagines. So the picture keeps changing. Thank god for the pills that file
off the edges. Tonight I can really sleep, and in the morning, admire the
new door someone else installed. A little off square, but the thing closes.
I can stand the job.
BARRY SILESKY’s books include One Thing That Can Save Us (Coffee House Press), This Disease (Due Sept. from Tampa University Press), and biographies of Lawrence Ferlinghetti and John Gardner. Many other poems have been in/are forthcoming in various magazines.
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