I go out and look straight up at the sky
and the clouds, at the dizzying height

of buildings that cast their shadow
as we walk through the streets. How

are we lucky to get this patch of blue,
to dodge death’s mushroom cloud today,

to slide for the time being past the Reaper’s
attention? Dandelions by the fence don’t yet wear

an invisible halo that sets off clicks in a Geiger
counter. Chain links vibrate as children catapult

their bodies higher in park swings. Who has a basement
underneath their apartment building? Who has a shelter

lined with provisions under a gum tree in the yard?
The deer run deeper into the wood, upturned flags

quivering from the white smoke of danger. Weren’t we
standing in this same spot less than a hundred years ago?

After rain, water collects in the cistern. For the moment,
it can still sing its green toward my unbearable thirst.


In response to Kissing gate.

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