Cattails

“Look to the helpers” they say,
And to where do the helpers look,
When the job is done the numbness stays
And what they saw remains on their retinas
And the smell of burning remains
And someone says “I smelled metal burning” and you say
“that wasn’t metal.”

To where do the helpers look?
To the mountains, where there is no help.
To the moon that shines oblivious to what’s below.

They don’t find help, their blessing is
That time continues on inexorably.
And the sun will shine tomorrow on their skin,
and the next day,
the waning moon peeks through occluding trees
and clear air.
And the cattails will sway loyally like soldiers,
purple-tinged under the streetlights.

written in 2013 after Boston, which echoed 2004 Jerusalem for me, thinking of it again now after 2017 Charlottesville.

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