What grabs but never gives? The rusty heart of war. Looting? What’s left to plunder from ruins? Even poetry fled weeks ago! Easter bears witness to mass graves. The combatants trade fire. Who’s keeping the books in this commerce of souls? Accounts fatten. Bombers seed fields with bullets. Recruits plant landmines and harvest death. Drones hover over tanks. Murder hornets rarely miss a mark. Summer is almost here. We will irrigate the land with our blood, the defenders vow. Survivors huddle in skeletal tenements, bent over smoky fires. Soon enough winter will rule a famished land. It’s only a matter of time.
It’s a downtown traffic jam: ghosts are piling up in deserted avenues, scrambling over one another, frantic to leave. Indecent haste: they have not mourned their humans. Keening screeches like sirens. Radiation wafts from embers in shattered towers. The wind plays dirges on bare wires and chimney stacks. A hotspot glows under late snow: the neighborhoods will be poisoned for years. Free land to the uninformed or reckless? There are no takers. The ravens’ work is done. Geese paddle serenely in blasted waterways. Abandoned cats and other strays figure out a living. A tabby gives birth under a porch. A maternity hospital lies in ruins.
Swiss cheese: a latticework of mousework, housework for a dog. Homework for a cat: I will study the habits of rodents, she thinks. I will unravel this dark matter. It matters. Tunnels under Mariupol seethe with cats and dogs. Humans fall silent. The rats are all above ground. They have nowhere to hide. A lacework of sun and shadow streams through bombed-out buildings. The rats hide in their thoughts. We hide in our prayers. In a mirror image world, sewers tunnel through air. Sceptic tanks overflow. Record of a pandemic. Panic sets in. We hide in our prayers. The rats hide in fear. All over? Not quite. Quiet. I wait for the world to be quiet.
©2022 Art Jeffrey Lipsky, ©2022 Text Heather Ferguson, ©2022 Petrichor ArtLab combined
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Jeffrey creates abstract narratives that are found in galleries, museums and private collections worldwide. He was featured in the New York Times Magazine (Portrait of an Artist as an Avatar – Filthy Fluno – The New York Times (nytimes.com). He recently held an online art exhibit at the Metaverse Art Museum.
Heather is the author of A Mouse in a Top Hat (chapbook, Rideau Review Press) and The Lapidary (special issue, Ygdrasil, A Journal of the Poetic Arts). The Lapidary was later translated into Spanish (four broadsheets) and French (The Lapidary / Le Lapidaire, Vermillon).