by a contributor

Joshua Willey

The morning after our children were killed in New England
A man was weeping in the reference section of the library
Beside the half-mast flags flapping over city hall
Grey rain and the shortest day of the year nigh
But under the bright fluorescence of the reading room
There was plenty of time for online shopping, even a few
Make-out sessions in the stacks or a bum shaving in the WC
Singing Chet Baker: “I get along without you very well, of course I do”
At the Wallace Stegner Environmental Center druggies whisper
About tobacco and Christ, skinny jeans and free gyros
Conservatives take over Japan as we remind ourselves
Only the good die young. My father sends me pictures of
Snowbound dawns, the stillness of pines, barn icicles
While here I am on Stanyan Street more concerned that
The 49ers are making a mistake not playing Alex Smith
And watching bums watch the fog and wishing the darkness
Would come so I could quit work and trudge up to my little room
To watch The Man Without A Past and drink my tea alone
What was it Stevens said, about making a space for transcendence
And why does it remind me of a knife you had just for cutting
Salami in the park. And what has become of that knife
Good god, what has become of the salami? The Devil in the Hills
Says you just need one true thing to be redeemed, so
I guess we’re in the clear. Still, if one is so prepared to die
Before thirty, what happens if he chances to see the age when
Those numbers are tripled and we are colonizing outer space
In vast fleets of ships. Then our fuel injection and flat screens
Will seem very old fashioned indeed and we will know at last
Here and now, it really was the good old wild west after all

Joshua Willey was born in Oakland California and studied literature at Reed College. Some of his work can be found in Adbusters, Rain Taxi, Opium, Wilderness House, and Newfound. When not reading or writing he works on a farm.