Recall a moment of great upheaval

or violence: the moment a bridge 

collapses from a blast, the moment
when students thronging the streets,

a million strong with banners and clenched
fists, approach the president's palace

and guards rush toward the gates. That
moment when the candidate steps up

to a podium and hand grenades explode
in the middle of a crowded plaza. After,

along with the dead and wounded, they
will count broken cantilevers, sheared

abutments; do inventory of Molotov
cocktail parts, pore over the astonishment

of pictures showing how one man stood
facing the oncoming tanks, how laser

pointers wove a thirty-mile mesh of blue
and green to scramble facial recognition

cameras. But what of the stillness
before the surge, those inscrutable

minutes before the senator in a white suit
starts moving toward the door of the plane,

the seconds before he's pushed from behind
and shot, and he lands face-down on the tarmac?

The space of a heartbeat fills much too quickly
with history, small as the cry of the child

in Book Six of The Iliad: afraid of the man
decked out in armor, then momentarily appeased.

His father lays down his plumed helmet, and
he is again only a mortal among other mortals.

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