Posted tagged ‘when nothing can be done poem’


October 30, 2012



A woman uptown
comes home to two children
stabbed.  All the next day I hear, silently,
her screams.

Then think, as I see caught fish pulled
onto the esplanade–of how we ache
for silver linings–slitted gills grasping desperately
at thin air, metallic iridescence belly-flopping
on stone–something to be made right, fixed,
bearable–and how, to a fish,
all upper surfaces must
seem silvered – ripples plated by sun
or mist, until whipped
into the sky, it finds
that the world is not as it
has known, that there are vast portions
where neither body nor
instinct can protect, can even

So we too
forge ahead, with or against
the current, but still in the comfort of luminous
viscosity until some terrible ‘suddenly’
when we are pulled
onto a stone slab of rending gasp and bootless
throttle, where the grey of sky is at best

If lucky, we are thrown
back – and though our breathing may labor,
accordion halation un-keyed, we float at last lopsidedly, slither
at a slant.

But sometimes, some one of us
is trapped in that sharded air until, seemingly, the end
of days.

We gasp, spin, in the eddy
of their reverberating
pain, then, gratefully, guiltily,
swim on, faster,

Hi–many of you know that I’m a denizen of New York City, specifically Battery Park City, and have been evacuated a couple of days.  This poem is not really about that, but something I’ve been mulling over since last week, a terrible terrible tragedy in which a nanny seems to have killed two children and then attempted suicide.  (I’m sorry; it’s a very sad story; my thoughts and prayers go to the families involved.)   I am linking it to dVerse Poets Open Link Night, hosted by the wonderful Tashtoo.I appreciate the concern of all about the New York storm.  We still haven’t gotten home but have been very well taken care of and feel immensely lucky.  The city is also in a good mood, friendly, relieved.