Author's Note: My parents were Holocaust survivors, and I hate to think how appalled they would be at our current situation, not only the SCOTUS decisions taking away the right of women to choose what happens to their own bodies, weakening the Federal Government’s ability to combat air pollution and climate change, while granting Americans greater rights to carry guns in public, but also the Republican Party’s embrace of authoritarian leaders in places like Turkey and Hungary and its turning a blind eye to the January 6th insurrection. It feels like the red lights are flashing all around, the sirens howling.
All night it felt like saying goodbye, as if we were meeting by the park gates, holding each other’s hands, while snow drifted through the streetlights. The river flowed between its dark banks. That might have been another time, in a small city with a lovely garden and a street lined with with twenty bars. My mother visited once, and when she saw the sign for the sandwich shop, she asked us where the subway goes. We waited for the bus, knowing it would be late, and when it came the driver let us on for free. Once we took a taxi, and the cabbie took us to his brother’s restaurant. We tipped him, and he made us wait while he fished out two bottles of wine. It was the strangest ride we ever took, with stars splashed across the sky, and all the city lights shut down for emergencies that never reached our ears.
I am waiting for the frogs, waiting for the bear that lumbers out in moonlight. Above the mountain turkey vultures careening through smoke-thick sky. August heat hangs heavy. Nothing moves in the dark woods, no sound by the swale. Nothing will bring this night closer to the flesh of my face, or stamp its image against my eyes.
©2022 Steve Klepetar
Editor's Note: If this poem(s) moves you please consider writing to the author (email address above) to say what it is about the poem you like. Writing to the author is what builds the community at Verse Virtual. It is very important. -JL