“What We Did in the Resistance (Part 1)” by Alison Luterman

Alison Luterman


In the beginning, we wept.
Well, some of us wept.
Some of us walked around stunned
as if pieces of sky
had fallen out of the sky and revealed themselves
to be chunks of blue plaster.
We examined the chunks.
We shook plaster dust out of our hair—there was so much dust!
We craned our necks and stared up.
Now we saw the scaffolding,
the what-do-you-call-it—sheetrock?
The drywall, the lath. We saw the insulation,
full of asbestos, we saw how the walls were stuffed
with it, like money. Everything
was revealed, yet nothing was clear.
If we were in a cunningly devised structure
not of our making, was it a theater
or a prison, a shopping mall or a mausoleum?

In the beginning, as I have said, we wept.
And raged and questioned. We embraced on the street
when we saw each other. We sat together
in cafes drinking coffee, digesting our grief.
The rest of the time we sat in front of glowing screens.
We gathered at night and made signs:
Not My President and Pussy Grabs Back;
we stapled them to sticks
and marched in exultation all over the world.
We had never seen before how many of us there are.

We clicked and liked and signed and donated and called
our Congresspeople, and sent postcards and checks.
We spoke of girding ourselves for the long fight.
We spoke of a marathon, we spoke of walking
in the footsteps of the elders, we spoke
of coal miners in Pennsylvania and Kentucky
who had voted for Trump.

And still the cat box needed to be cleaned, the oil in the car changed,
classes taught, bills paid, dishes washed.
And still the rains came down, especially, biblically—
we joked about End Times—and the witching trees
with their bare black branches
sprouted the tiniest of new buds,
almost invisible at first, a red tip at the nodes, a subtle fire,
and then overnight, purple blossoms;
the trees who knew nothing of elections,
the trees who outweighed us and would outlast us
and despite everything the earth continued to turn
from light to darkness and into light again, over and over it rolled,
as it had been rolling through generations of empire and uprising,
extinction and evolution, and once again
to our surprise we noticed that it was spring.

from Poets Respond
March 26, 2017

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Alison Luterman: “Even though these past two months have felt in some ways like two years, the earth has continued to turn toward the light, and all the rains we had this winter have created an exceptionally beautiful spring. News of the human world of politics and news of the earth both move me.” (website)

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