Poetry: Laura Sims

POST- (an excerpt)

One hand beat

At a guttering softening bellying eddying

Bank of white dust

Swift

Spreading coils

Our men and

The source of our decadence — all of deep space — extracted

At last to a

Wilderness










When I


Sat by the brightness / slew by the brightness / I slew


The last curate whose wailing


Possessed me. Useless and cumbersome


Empire


or


Bouquets of fire









My nerve

Rattled through me


Behind it

Was land — behind that was the Zone


The trees were scarred too

They were washing the streets with white powder


                                    –Look–


                                    Smoke pouring into the universe









The rose-colored foot

Of the Martian

Fell / like a garment a / grotesque mingling / my / wife’s face white
but a ruin / the sodden / man between longing


*

Not simply torn between longing and safety
But torn









Somewhere below the great Mother of Cities


Here it’s the same

And the atom is everywhere

*

What stood in our yard were like demons
outside of time. One had a rock in his mouth,
another a tree branch

And “each man became what he was”









We gave our meat to the meat plant

& the garden, town, village


Lifted from the mind


*


From above we saw:

A ruined shape

We turned to [colorless]


The sea was like the sky                        a long, long chain that tethered everything









At last, at last


To hunger and terror

Salami and buckwheat


We’ll stand between death and its shining ideals

We’ll fatten from hunger and light the whole earth

With our comrades’ debris


We’ll be grim set on living


We’ll bury the headquarters schools and the baths



And the water main









Oh strange person

Oh person in a vacuum

We with our canons and spaceships were children


Man is simply frightening



(Instead of fields) the forest rises again








***


The lines of POST- are pulled from/ inspired by/ reconstituted from: Voices from Chernobyl: The Oral History of a Nuclear Disaster, by Svetlana Alexievich and War of the Worlds, by H.G. Wells.


***



Laura Sims is the author of three books of poems: My god is this a man (forthcoming, Fence Books 2013), Stranger (Fence Books, 2009), and Practice, Restraint, (winner of the 2005 Fence Books Alberta Prize). She is a co-editor of Instance Press and lives in Brooklyn.

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