by Jerry Durick
Once we talked about it as if it were an inevitability, the sum of our collective sins. It was big – it drove agendas, kept us up nights, energized us through those predictable cocktail parties and endless coffee breaks -- the dullness of the 50’s, the more stirring silliness of the 60’s and the 70’s, and even the numbness, the draw down dumbness of the 80’s. We could talk about mutual annihilation between sips, whole hemispheres disappeared as we lit up, missiles pointed at the heart of our enemy, at our own hearts, as we reached for another donut or another chip.
Now the scale of our talk trails off – bombs show up in sneakers and suitcases, are bought and sold, they say, by displaced generals and disgruntled scientist on the internet, down alleys, around back, out of car trunks in Hackensack. We no longer hunker in a bunker, waiting for the all clear whistle. We now measure and mourn our losses at the pump, in lines in terminals, at borders, in confused political speeches, in vague references to vague enemies with vague agendas and names we rarely pronounce correctly. Bomb, oh bomb, where has it gone? So simple, so splendid, just one push of a button – and we’re gone, all gone.
never happens far enough away,
it always happens right here
as if dreadful events sort themselves
as if I were born to watch this, be here
first in a quake the dishes begin to shake,
say that once it begins it becomes everything,
Jerry Durick is presently a writing teacher at the Community College of Vermont, after a long career teaching literature, humanities, and writing at Trinity College of Vermont. His training in poetry included several summers at the Frost Place Poetry Festival and a poetry writing seminar with Billy Collins in Galway, Ireland. His recent poems have appeared in the Onion River Review, Delta Epsilon Sigma Journal, and in the anthology, The Breath of Parted Lips: Voices From the Robert Frost Place.