"after the End and the beginning" Wislawa Syzmborska
We need to do something about all the lost limbs. Would somebody please volunteer to search for all those lost legs, arms, faces?
We’re all thirsty, yes, but does anybody know where we can find a brook, a creek that doesn’t have our floating cousins? Yes, yes, we need a morgue, but first we must find a few dogs to tell us who is beneath the stones. We know Gertrude and Maurice and maybe Alfonse, maybe more, all have to be found. Bandages, surely someone has some bandages. We want to rebuild. Does anyone have a ladder? Let’s leave God out of this for awhile. Let’s start in the square, and slowly remove what was thrown down from the sky. Who knows how to get a weather report? Will there be good weather for tomorrow? Yes, that’s a good idea, but we can always talk, there’s always a lot of time for talk. We’ve got such a mess. Brooms. Everybody, find all the brooms. Can anyone send a letter, we need to let someone know this has happened. Tomorrow we can start burning our families. Surely someone will see the smoke. Surely someone will come.
From At the End of War (DeWitt Clinton, Kelsay Books 2018) This appeared in the March 2019 Waging Peace issue of The BeZine. Reprinted now at the request of the poet.
©2018 DeWitt Clinton
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…taught English, Creative Writing, and World of Ideas courses for over 30 years at the University of Wisconsin—Whitewater. His earlier collections of poetry include The Conquistador Dog Texts, The Coyot. Inca Texts, (New Rivers Press), At the End of the War (Kelsay Books, 2018) and By A Lake Near A Moon: Fishing with the Chinese Masters (Is A Rose Press, 2020). A fifth poetry collection, Hello There, is due out soon from Word Tech Communications in Cincinnati.