A Modest Proposal
Joy Ladin
  Let's not kill or die today.
  Let's make angels out of yarn, men of snow,
  mashed potato animals that smile as we spoon
  their eyes of melted butter.

  Instead of killing ourselves or one another,
  let's neatly stack anxiety's sweaters
  and scratch our itchy trigger fingers
  by whittling turtles for our mothers,

  or pretending to understand Heidegger,
  or imagining the sexual embrace
  through which time and space
  first conceived of matter.

  If we still aren't over killing and dying,
  we can search the stacks for library books
  that haven't circulated in generations
  and savor the mold

  that spores their spines
  the way wine snobs savor the nose
  of vintage wines cellared
  between wars to end all wars.

  Look, we've played all day
  and haven't spilled a drop of blood
  apart from the occasional paper cut.
  In an hour or two, when it's very dark,

  let's make up stories out of stars,
  and fill them with all the killing and dying
  we didn't do today, except in our imaginations.
  Let's pull our comforters over our heads

  and sing ourselves to sleep
  like good little civilizations.

Joy Ladin is the author of eight books of poetry, including Lambda Literary Award finalists Impersonation and Transmigration, and Fireworks in the Graveyard, forthcoming from Headmistress Press. Her memoir, Through the Door of Life, was a 2012 National Jewish Book Award finalist. She holds the Gottesman Chair in English at Stern College of Yeshiva University. 


more by Joy Ladin:
The Poem and Me