The familiar becomes extreme:
I'm calling & calling with no reply
(invoking the silences in song)--
days lose their dailyness, or
have too much of it, the losses happen
without redress; what, then, is there left to depend on?
It's not that there aren't names for things. But the things. Terror
of "the true," lineaments of virtue.
It's the small words
not " for them" but
"to them." Smallest of words
making us smaller, leaving us/them
homeless. What we do with them. The first
responsibility: to not be crushed, to not
crush. Home is a word we defend. And the children
God of the unpossessable earth: or
is chance the word we give to the set-up
we don't want to see? So much swept up by gale-force winds, new-age
torrential rains, signs buckling under the set-to. In
the aftermath, in the disheveled streets, lost signs are lost
promises. What's judged worthy is put beyond it.
For all that's bent, broken & beyond repair, let the stars ravish heaven.
The light, the post-catastrophic light, rises; is pink over mazed trash.
Signs of what we will be.
Floods submerge streets, street signs, houses.
From the sky, the flat expanse of water is accomplished
Fact. Birds are departed, & their sweet questionings.
A thousand-year flood. And then another.
What can we take in? What, by blindness or
Resolution, will we be? The landscape's gone, the old
Language is dying. I cannot comprehend it. Is mercy.
Author Bio: Jon Thompson teaches at North Carolina State University where he edits Free Verse: A Journal of Contemporary Poetry & Poetics and Free Verse Editions, a poetry series. His most recent book is Notebook of Last Things, out in April of 2019 from Shearsman Books. More on him at www.jon-thompson.net.