Vox Populi

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Al Maginnes: The Book of Forgetting

By now she’s tired of stories

spotlighting her early deeds,

actions too endearing to be

plotted, or the years before

she came, blanks of time distant

as fires in the granite hills

west of us. Last week, a downturn

in the atmosphere brought smoke

drifting raw currents only made

visible by smoke’s motion.

It trespassed flatland streets and yards.

At bedtime, I whispered

her away from apocalypse

and bad dreams, promised

clear skies, knowing my blood

would pace sentry for hours

after neighbor lights went dead

and the shrouded moon

took its perch in the sky.

I know there is a book, more

than one, where the names

of dead towns and their citizens

line the white pages neat

as grave plots. We see

our place in that book once

when we are born, once more

when we die. So I can’t say

the fate of anyone, of those

facing the flames, whether

they weep or pray or howl

a fiddler’s laugh. That’s why

I tell my daughter stories

we both know the ending of,

so we can forget what truth

lies inside a book

neither of us will read.

Copyright 2018 Al Maginnes


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