– Poem by Lawrence Raab
Even from the beach I could sense it—
lack of welcome, lack of abiding life,
like something in the air, a certain
lack of sound. Yesterday
there was a mountain out there.
Now it’s gone. And look
at this radio, each tube neatly
sliced in half. Blow the place up!
That was my advice.
But after the storm and the earthquake,
after the tactic of the exploding plane
and the strategy of the sinking boat, it looked
like fate and I wanted to say, “Don’t you see?
So what if you’re a famous biochemist!
Lost with all hands is an old story.”
Sure, we’re on the edge
of an important breakthrough, everyone
hearing voices, everyone falling
into caves, and you’re out
wandering through the jungle
in the middle of the night in your negligee.
Yes, we’re way out there
on the edge of science, while the rest
of the island continues to disappear until
nothing’s left except this
cliff in the middle of the ocean,
and you, in your bathing suit,
crouched behind the scuba tanks.
I’d like to tell you
not to be afraid, but I’ve lost
my voice. I’m not used to all these
legs, these claws, these feelers.
It’s the old story, predictable
as fallout — the rearrangement of molecules.
And everyone is surprised
and no one understands
why each man tries to kill
the thing he loves, when the change
comes over him. So now you know
what I never found the time to say.
Sweetheart, put down your flamethrower.
You know I always loved you.