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The Big War • For Safety's Sake

Paul Lojeski: …is coming as sure as the last sunrise. stand still and listen to the breathing of missiles waking in their hard-skinned silos.
the big war

the big war

is coming as sure
as the last sunrise.

stand still and listen
to the breathing

of missiles waking
in their hard-skinned silos,

the quiet jabber of sharks
in underground bunkers,

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planning first strikes
and survival tactics

in a world curtained
in death, while deer clattering

across midnight roads
already know what’s ahead.

for they know who we are
and what we’ve done.

For Safety’s Sake

The mouth doesn’t work as it once did, lips puffy,
rubbery, words flowing slow sometimes like lava
easing downhill, a stutter barely discernable
flutters across the thick tongue, logic of meaning
slightly confused tumbles into thin air, all within
a split second, hopefully rectified before witnesses
notice and turn away. Aged brain signals sputtering,
wires corroded by time and distance, decades
burning the connections. Walking, too, re-ordered
as trial and error, the gate careful and delicate like
a child first learning the walk, hips and knees
ground down, internals sparking in the stinking
darkness, near the end. But you need to keep that
job even as 70 yanks you towards the grave, all of it,
all the fear and pain must be kept hidden. Because
you need that job to pay rent and the rest of it. To keep
the wolf from the door. To die with a roof over your head.

Paul Lojeski