Unfortunately rather than grass there was white paste
Or rather than an orange tiger lily there was white white out,
And a lime tree or an outfield? No instead there was white medicine
In a normal tube which over and over had to refill
Itself to cover the whole major league outfield
And on nice brown and black checked sheets with brown pillowcases
There were without mercy each night snow and white glue mixed
With snow in my spot in the bed.
In the morning, we fully awake, the glue was fifty percent
Of the snow that was shoveled from the walk. Each day such snow
Was waiting outside and of each day the first five hours
I shoveled. Tell me yours.
OK. The pets whose names you know well were dead, all fourteen,
The ones who are six years old and the ones who are fifty-two,
Or they were all lost, we could not find out which it was. The people
We know, or knew (and that’s the hard part)
Were also hopefully lost rather than decayed
With no consciousness, and we searched for the creatures and humans
Every waking minute in the endless cities then went to sleep
And as we slept we hoped they were hopelessly lost not dead.
—from Rattle #32, Winter 2009
Arthur Vogelsang: “I know we are not supposed to depict things as finally horrible, but I did it anyway. There may be consolation in the fact that the two speakers are sleeping, but I don’t think so.”