Sunday, November 9, 2014

Joseph Duemer

The Room

There are stains
some subtle
some grotesque
on the floor
& on the bench.
This is the room
where persons
turn into stains.


An Event in the Capital

Imagine an ordinary person—
middle-aged, male, nondescript—
walking along a street in the capital.
Imagine an explosion
behind him, just far enough
that he is only knocked down
by the expanding sphere of air,
falling forward onto his hands & knees,
hardly breaking the skin.
In your imagination, enter the city.
(Not much is required.)
He hears the splatter of gunfire
& sirens converging on the splintered
wreckage, but he gets up
& continues to the market,
dusting himself off as he walks.
Flakes of paper & ancient plaster
filter down around him.
He buys a few things for his dinner
& is not surprised, returning home,
to feel his neck stiffening,
a headache forming behind his eyes
so that despite the heat
he lies down to rest.

Early evening, the day cooling,
he is awakened by voices
at the door. His daughter-in-law’s
low but insistent murmur.
Her friend who has walked with her
from her home near the river
retreats, unwilling to be marked
with the news of the man’s son
killed that morning in the explosion
in the Street of Fountains.
It is only then that the man—
ordinary, middle-aged, nondescript,
sweaty from sleeping in the heat—
notices that his ears are still ringing
from the blast that drove him
to his knees that morning
in the Street of Fountains.
With his arm now placed carefully
around her shoulders, he leads
his daughter into the kitchen, then
goes to draw a basin of water
so they can wash their faces,
each, now, beyond

© Joseph Duemer


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