A New Normal Poem: (Edited Manuscript, Draft, And Final Version)

She awoke, and not wanting to disturb Terrance
let her sleepy feet quietly fumble for the slippers
she’d left like two sleeping puppies by the bedside.

[Hayah awoke to an explosion and grabbed her spear
lunging out of the tent like a hot breath.
A whole file of Terruvians already slaughtered
defending in a stubborn circle their virgin-whore Queen.]

The coffee percolated in a language of its own.
Thoughts of the day ahead bubbled up
like pinpoint lights stirring her foggy mind.

[The Hemalytes, emboldened in their lust,
some now maimed and bleeding, but firm,
drove toward the Queen like frenzied wasps.]

On the subway it all seemed so normal
how a man gently pulled down his mask
to administer to himself a bit of chewing gum.

[Hayah’s spear found Tengara’s inner thigh.
His scream cracked the earth and released
5 thousand Sheyan warriors, each clutching
in her hand a different word for death]


I awoke, tired of social distancing
my feet propped up on a sterile pillow
by my wife’s snoring head.

The sun rose in a bang and for a minute I panicked
thinking of how heroes die, then comforted myself
remembering that I wasn’t one.

This great country, I wailed,
is raring for a captain bold
to navigate a river that runs both ways.
(That’s where women get it wrong
believing that hope is their unique commodity)

They sprayed rubber bullets, then
he waved a rubber bible
and 5 thousand hands offered up
masks to hide his bone-bleached smile.
Something, I thought, we’ll all tell our grandkids.

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