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This poem first appeared in the Spring, 2013 issue of The Antioch Review.


 

AUDUBON SOCIETY FIELD GUIDE TO DISASTER

by Lightsey Darst

 

In the famous cyclorama,
Raze the wooden schoolhouse to build an explosion.
 

An earthquake destroys the manmade waterfall hewn by Romans. . .designed
by Romans, hewn by their slaves—captives from all corners of the known world,
 

people you’ll see in hell are here,        [in the famous torture]
Please lay still                                          I’d like the police to shoot me, if they could”                                                     

 

O what have I done. Brother, we’re not staying here no more. Pure abyss. But we
are on the line now with an eyewitness: Most of the victims have been
 

(shadows breathe) (stars ache) (a universe) This is a very hard thing to watch.
Run through a burning building, gallows or courthouse, soon beams split asunder & iron
 

storm-mass crashes directly into our Pillar of Fire church. We expect the usual
mushroom cloud, so be especially suspicious / superstitious
 

among strangers, fast, sudden, and forcefully to the eyes, nose or throat
“without concern for the damage you might inflict”
 

 
                                                                Illinois man changes name to “In God We Trust”
                    Grammar. Studying it indicates the dreamer is trying to do the right thing.

***

Lightsey DarstLightsey Darst is a writer and arts organizer based in Durham, NC. She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts for both literature and dance criticism, as well as a Minnesota Book Award. Her books of poetry are Find the Girl and DANCE (2010 and 2013, both from Coffee House Press). Her criticism is online at mnartists.org, walkerart.org, The Huffington Post, and Bookslut. http://lightseydarst.com/

© The Antioch Review, 2015

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