Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Vacant Windows by Hank Kalet

This is brand new.

Vacant Windows
Hank Kalet

"The city itself
is ruined"

and the photos
in pixilated color

on the front pages
of the papers

at the Wawa
bear out the words

of the refugee
in Tskinvali

that I read in
The Chronicle

on a Wednesday
when Michael Phelps

won his fifth
gold medal

and the feds issued
retail stats

that put in numbers
what we all know

all too well,
that our pockets

are as empty
as Mother Hubbard's

bare cupboard,
though the bills

keep arriving
with the frequency

of nightfall
or the trashmen

on Wednesdays.
Broken buildings,

the rubble
in the street,

it’s like I’ve seen
these pictures before,

the smoke billowing
upward from blackened

apartments, upper stories
bombed out and burned,

blacker than the Black Sea,
vacant windows like

the eyes of the dead
before the pennies

are placed to pay
Charon, before

the ferry comes, before
the coffin lid’s secured.

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