My grandpa was a writer. not the kind that uses flowery words but the kind who writes what he knows,
paragraphs filled with pain and joy and life and death that I'd try to read over his shoulder. each one
had a dedication to a family member who would never even glance at a page. A row of those unread unopened books
has sat on my grandmother's shelf for three decades, the spines turning brittle, dust gathering around them.
she donated her CD collection to make room for more.
we sit by the lake, sun pouring down. our circle is
unbroken. how are you? a question with too many answers and not enough time
never enough time, not for this, not to save
too late. blood covers the sand, falling from our eyes. we hold each other’s wounds shut until the rain comes
this fortress will not fall
names stratified by our postal codes, self-edited even further
back home, the instinctive reflex to explain its uniqueness, its smallness
something true: success is often attributed to a different sacrifice, personal liberty
theories tend to ignore entirely different decisions
we safely court death
every September our teacher asks why history is important. It's the same responses every time, reworded to make it seem like we are different, intelligent, capable human beings who can think for ourselves:
"so we don't repeat the past"
"so we know what mistakes to avoid"
"so we are not ignorant"
it doesn't vary, even now when our world is the history, when we live in a time we have already studied and find ourselves powerless yet again.
a sixteen page document emailed to us late at night reads "How the Spanish Flu Prepared America for Future Pandemics" in an effort to comfort us but does not provide relief to those of us trapped with sick families, sick minds warped and destroyed by the news that surrounds us from the moment we wake up to the moment we fall asleep in the bed we spent the day in.
"How the Spanish Flu Prepared America for Future Pandemics" is not a balm for our souls, just a reminder that we are taught to study and analyze to create armor against time but history will always repeat itself, lashing out at the fools who think essays will somehow protect against the cycle, that their words can overpower the earth herself.
history coincides with the dead
one fleetingly suspects before filing the observation away.
we withhold our impatient chronology, we begin to wonder
implications of an underlying pattern
there is a division at the center
the first, the final, the last, the first.
the hypothetical dividing line, again, right where it ought to be.
— The End —