“The Specificity of Generalities” by Ed Orr

Ed Orr


The “Year Without a Summer” was technically not
a year without summer—just colder than most:
frozen lakes, failed crops, feelings that, foremost,
accompany winter—wondering, for example,
if spring, let alone summer, will ever come.
The tiger, in its relentless measured momentum,
releases itself from its cage; but no one notices
its stripes have changed to spots in their calloused
mechanical eyes. The beggar sees his chance—
it is not so hard for him to see through earth,
which reduces history to darkened colors.
And history repeats itself in darkened colors.
“Why then,” the little girl asks, “should anyone
embrace the means? Is every year a year
without summer? Is that why birds fly south,
because somewhere it must be summer?” Her mother
smiles her maternal smile. She knows it is
possible to be both right and wrong. What does one tell
a mother she should tell her daughter? The wind,
brute strength, and flower, spiritual bravado, will
be at odds—though, when the time was right, they have been known
to schmooze. Siena was like that. Not everyone belonged there.
And sometimes it takes an apocalypse of nature to remind
us not everything is meant for everyone. Seasons
are just. Think back. The moon. How believable is that?

from Rattle #25, Summer 2006

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