“Even when . . . / . . . the country plummets /
into a crepitating crater of hatred . . .” ~ Ada Limon
Insults are piled in a corner
of the crepitating crater of hatred,
racial, ethnic, religious slurs,
stereotypes of who’s dirty
or dishonest, heaped detritus
of words used to define, degrade,
dehumanize, and in another corner,
sanctions to strike at and strike out,
tolerance of torture, approval of boot,
pillory, leash, waterboard.
Why can’t we all crawl from the crater
like caterpillars, spin new webs,
rise together as butterflies
and wing our way to a peaceful world?
Beginning with a line from Albert Stewart
Winter with the earth withdrawn and neuroti
slips in between corn rows. Maples
anxiously strip off golden kaftans,
stand naked against graying sky.
Phobic flowers bend heads in one last prayer,
giving up on life, color, beauty.
The ground fixates on concealing bulbs
well below its clammy surface.
The river is disturbed, its façade
a false mirror tempting the vulnerable.
I become irrational,
withdrawn and neurotic as the earth.
Glass on the Road
I turn sharply, hugging the curb to avoid
the million fragments of glistening glass.
I’m traveling in the wake of someone
I can’t see, not knowing the extent
of inconvenience or tragedy which visited
this corner before I arrived, not knowing
if the remains of their misfortune will puncture
my tires, leave me stranded up the road.
If so, they will never know. How many
sharp shards have I dropped where others
would step, bloodying their feet? Whose
tires have been punctured by my accidents?
Wilda Morris, Workshop Chair of Poets and Patrons of Chicago and a past President of the Illinois State Poetry Society, has been published in numerous anthologies, webzines, and print publications, including The Ocotillo Review, Pangolin Review, and Journal of Modern Poetry. She has won awards for formal and free verse and haiku. Her second poetry book, Pequod Poems: Gamming with Moby-Dick, was published by Kelsay Books in 2019. Her poetry blog at wildamorris.blogspot.com features a monthly poetry contest.
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