Later History by David Rivard
No, it isn’t so bad being
the tail end of a life form, & even when it is
over for good, when the rivers slow to a stop
and we are eradicated from this planet
with its hierarchies of golden wasp, conqueror, & clerk,
it still won’t be over. Our extermination
will allow us to survive ourselves, but changed
in our ways, humble, less sullen, quickened,
like dust driven along by a risen wind.
Each of us like a skater
who sidles down a corridor of wind & snowflakes, without
loneliness or fear. I think we will communicate
with one another the way,
in a bright kitchen on Sundays, a worn & disheveled pajama bottom
can deliver a message simply by clinging
to a thigh, quietly
but with a sly impunity. Doubt will defeat itself,
perfectly aware of its own
weaknesses, & all the treaties & accords of history
will be honored. All the subtle fragrances & intensities
of axle grease, of sails on the Nile & tangerines,
will be recalled & sung,
while our faces in the mirrors of innumerable
bathrooms will no longer loom up to obsess us.
But sorrow, sorrow will be unchanged.
So that we may recognize each other.
— For Michael McGuire
This poem was selected by Heather R. (Adult Services Librarian)