Adjusting to war coming
On the theory that if you tread enough water
the waves won’t close over you,
I did sufficient chores
to get out of the house,
its pretense of interminability –
solid bookcases, solid tables,
Walked past the World Bank,
people with smudgy crosses on their foreheads,
past the souvenir stands, t-shirts 5 for $9, talk about cheap,
one of those days so full of signifying
even the veins in a slab of marble
look like figures, see,
that’s a tall person, slacks tight on her buns,
Picked a route around puddles, melting snow,
noticed a stubby obelisk beside the Ellipse
put up by the DAC to name men
given the 17th century right
to own this land.
When our lives turn long enough
we realize we’ll never
have anything the way it was,
we set up stones,
asking them to speak,
pretending they will last.
Many more stones coming,
rows and rows, across the river.
We call this adjusting.
by David McAleavey
from Autumn Sky Poetry Number 20, January 2011
Photo by Christine Klocek-Lim