Vox Populi

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Molly Fisk: American Riddle

When you can’t figure out how to stop

the war in Iraq, much less how to make

enough money to pay your mortgage,

moving the hundred and eighty dollars

from savings back into your checking

account as if that will help — when it’s

all you can do to acknowledge the actual

world and not lose yourself half the afternoon

in People Magazine where the movie stars

revolve like frosted cakes in a glass case

at the old Lady Baltimore bakery

on Throckmorton, before your home town

became so chic none of the kids

from your high school could afford

to live there — when you’re so tired

of reinventing yourself you want to lie down

on the road, right on the double yellow line

in front of your driveway, exactly where

two of your cats have been killed and wait

for someone to run you over but with your luck

you’d probably just lose an arm, no doubt

the right one, so you’d have to relearn

holding the pencil against the page

at the proper angle, and your sweater’s

sleeves would need to be hemmed

to cover the stump and then you’d really

have something to complain about

as well as something in common with soldiers

returning from the Middle East

who left precious parts of themselves behind,

which is where this poem begins and ends:

How the hell are we going to stop the cavalier

waste? How are we going to apologize?


Copyright 2010 Molly Fisk. From The More Difficult Beauty, HipPocket Press


Dover Air Force Base during the American-Iraq War

2 comments on “Molly Fisk: American Riddle

  1. Chaya
    November 17, 2017

    The photograph with the poem is one of the saddest I’ve ever seen. While Molly allows herself emotion, the soldiers in the photo are standing st attention. Whatever they are feeling, it’s all held inside. Very painful. Who was the photographer? Credit should be given.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. johnlawsonpoet
    November 16, 2017

    Reblogged this on Site Title and commented:
    Wow, it’s great to recognize yourself in somebody else’s poem.

    Liked by 1 person

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This entry was posted on November 16, 2017 by in Poetry, Social Justice, War and Peace and tagged , , , .

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