Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2016  Vol. 15 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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November 11

My mother calls it pushing and contractions,
not Armistice or Veteran’s,
or according to the Internet, the date

Sherman began his burning
to the sea. Riots broke out in Tibet.
On this day, Kurt Vonnegut was born,

and the Internet lists him first
as soldier, then author, academic,
the order perhaps not incorrect,

given the smell of mustard gas
and roses. After a bombing, what
do the birdies say with their barbed-

wire beaks? On this day: a battle,
a massacre. A thing called disaster.
Vonnegut wrote of the present—

how wide it was, how deep.
The doctrine of transubstantiation
was defined on this day, the way

Vonnegut said of blood in the snow,
the color of raspberry sherbet.
My father calls this one of his happiest

the bread he consumed, the wine.
The sudden transformation of a man.
The Internet tells me: on this day

the end of occupied France.
And if I trust Vonnegut, we’re trapped
in the amber of this moment,

this date and any other fossilized,
suspended in resin, held dying
and delivered in the hard yellow light.  

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