Providence


In disaster and war movies
the protagonist (Queen) and her immediate circle
are protected from anonymous death. They may die (one by one or all at once)
but someone at least grieves.
Or the audience is full of glee.

But in Star Wars (for instance)
what about the many hundreds of nameless, faceless soldiers
in body armor and visored helmets, or planetary citizens,
who fall by the dozens or more, like the leaves this rich fall. I think
no one thinks

how one of them may have had her first lover the night before
and one may be leaving behind two sons he read to last night
and loved with all his heart.
Neither belief in God nor being a god entertained
can explain or forgive this oversight.

Ah, how sweet
the film in which no actor dies or if they do
it's from their own disease or golden age.
People grieve for the soul that left
and celebrate the soul that flew.

I was in Providence for a conference,
a town I had thought insignificant, not a city to be considered
a city in flight. But that night they lit
one hundred bonfires in the river running up through the streets and the face of every
      girl and woman with her lover
by firelight was beautiful.

Had the city been nuked
by a terrorist or rogue nation I would not have minded dying there,
with them, that night. It is possible
to be several billion strong
and every homeless man with a singing voice belong.


Copyright 2007 by Robert Ronnow.