by Maxine Chernoff
“Operators fly the planes from air – conditioned trailers thousands of miles from
the war zone.”
Porch lights appear — it is 1962 when the woman wearing a pink chemise
retrieves the newspaper from her lawn.
We settle on news of our day, how video – games have turned deadly, how children
have learned the ready skills of removal.
A book’s pages blow from middle to end to beginning. Nothing passes or ends.
Nothing claims the text’s attention. Words float upward, launched by hands.
The usual mixed with the strange is the stuff of dreams, the stuff of waking to
distinctions sharp as paper, soft as candles. Far beyond shadows, a light whose
origin is mystery; a new sense of the word means death, sudden as music.
Maps suggest the land has no boundaries, countries no borders. Objects of
interest move on a grid: men and women, cattle, and a stray goat with stone –
The ache of the past connects to the present — how doorbells used to ring and
strangers call. Fear was small and hovered on lips. Olives floated listlessly in
drinks as people whispered local scandal in front rooms blue with information.
Surgeons of excision, men enact death’s plans. Its subtlety knows no limits; out –
manned and outmaneuvered, we practice remembering.