Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting by Kevin Powers

Letter Composed During a Lull in the Fighting by Kevin Powers

Author:Kevin Powers
Language: eng
Format: epub, mobi
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Published: 2014-03-31T16:00:00+00:00

with their late spring blanketing of pollen underneath

the unreal quality of light in which we lived, until I climbed

into the seat beside him, that rag he had

by then begun to cough into

already resting on his knee.

The Torch and Pitchfork Blues

Whoever picks up the last of the thrown jacks

while the ball still bounces off the pavement

and hangs suspended in the kicked-up playground dust

must also retrieve the history of the ground

where it will land. There are rules. Tell us,

boy, called out on eenie, if you

have guessed them yet. Before there was

brushed nickel there was iron, before

Tommy Dunlap was pushed idly from the bus

into that busy intersection, there was

a plenitude of grief already. Measured

against all that, a single incident recedes

into no biggie, just a memory that will help

to make his fourth-grade classmates cautious,

for a time at least, until they can no longer take

the weight of that third and fourth look down the street

when crossing into any kind of danger.

It doesn’t matter, can’t, and even if the impact

of that moment could be measured, we cannot say

with any certainty that Sara Albertson,

ten years after, could have resisted

making dainty track marks in the crook

of her elbow, between her toes, and I have heard,

when it was at its worst, into her eyes.


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