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 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