Poems > This World, This World

“This old world is mean and cruel, but still
I love it like a fool – This world, this world, this world.” Malvina Reynolds

Sabbath Day after sunspots and angst,
unnatural sun,
thermometer a town crier of dread
in this uneasy year. Blooms swell
too fast on lilac and oak,
blue scilla up a month too soon
around the backyard Buddha.
A lump in my throat,
glum outrage: how can loveliness
like this now make us afraid,
contamination of blessings, and
who’s to blame?

It may not matter, and how pathetic,
my ludicrous stash of cloths bags
hardly enough to save a single honeybee.

On our walk through early dark,
Vickie points out Venus,
and Jupiter and Mars glint bright, untouched,
a perfect distant comfort
and rebuke. At least our ruin
doesn’t reach that far. Vickie says
she doesn’t feel safe here
anymore – I know she doesn’t mean
our street, green canopy compromised
enough. She means
this world, this world, and what,
she says, of the children?
Her husband is also afraid.

Still we stop at Double J’s for ice cream.
Familiar drifters part around us, a dozen Tom Waits
at the counter. Vickie buys me water and
it tastes good all the way home. But even this
is guilt, the plastic bottle
an indictment
warming up in my culpable hand.

First published in Driftwood, offshoot site of the Ludington Writers.