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I Find Myself European, Still

by Rodney Koeneke

I FIND myself European, still
watching the bodies in Colonel Chabert
pile up in the dark on my blue TV.
It makes you think how true it is: we have
no monopoly on pain—a holocaust
for farmboys means more meat;
the axis of the universe won’t tilt
if Pakistan disappears, or Germany
or us. Disgust for humanity
Isn’t my gift; when softness leaves the body
so do I. But empowerment, it doesn’t seem to fit
when the horseflesh smashes against the line
and it’s us the ciphers, the privates, the hooves.

So hide me somewhere with bread and a name
and call it courage, prudence if you like,
call it listening to the world
underwater, where you hear the first soft music
of the grave.
Death is the quietness
of death,
which is to say
it’s silent where we’re most alive,
the air itself can bury us
but give us, for a while, just a little weight
to keep from falling upward through the stars.

Posted in Paper City

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