Tracy K. Smith
They’re gassing geese outside of JFK.
Tehran will likely fill up soon with blood.
The Times is getting smaller day by day.
We’ve learned to back away from all we say
And, more or less, agree with what we should.
Whole flocks are being gassed near JFK.
So much of what we’re asked is to obey –
A reflex we’d abandon if we could.
The Times reported 19 dead today.
They’re going to make the opposition pay.
(If you’re sympathetic, knock on wood.)
The geese were terrorizing JFK.
Remember how they taught you once to pray?
Eyes closed, on your knees, to any god?
Sometimes, small minds seem to take the day.
Election fraud. A migratory plague.
Less and less surprises us as odd.
We dislike what they did at JFK.
Our time is brief. We dwindle by the day.
“Solstice” copyright © 2011 by Tracy K. Smith. From Life on Mars and used by permission of the author and Graywolf Press. All rights reserved. http://www.graywolfpress.org.
Tracy K. Smith is Poet Laureate of the United States and serves at Princeton University as Roger S. Berlind ’52 Professor of the Humanities, Director and Professor of Creative Writing.