Safe Passage

by Brad Crenshaw

All said, things are settling down.
It’s that sort of world, definitely
haunted, but those who know report that roads
are open in Los Angeles, where people
try to breathe again, and citizens
in India can see the Himalayas
white as frozen ghosts. It gives me heart
somehow. Hindus wave at neighbors, and
in Tuscany the sheltered businessmen
are singing on their ledges. Early morning
somewhere lately, oilmen wake on ocean
platforms without blasting, no spills
out of the center of the earth. Almost
no one’s getting murdered anymore.
War in fact has been unheard, military
carriers are quarantined. Even
winter’s mostly over in one hemisphere,
where every able hominid is sowing
seeds on urban roofs, in yards beside
an idle truck or two, in fallow fields—
after a week of storms—all but ovulating
for new crops. Everyone I know is living. 

All this needs to be considered when
we come across the latest news, regarding
which, it may be painful to believe,
I lied. Terrible trials are not behind
us. As in the desert with its dead houses
dazzled open in the sun and shadows,
long and shallow, we unclothe ourselves
before the old habitual beauty of
our enemies: the intimate touch, a breath
of gratitude, or germ of an idea
leading willingly into infected
company. There decays the mother
with her husband. The love-struck children
reach a doddering father with the brutal
hand of mercy. Lumbermen in Maine,
I’ve just been told, entirely sold their stock
for coffins, whereas locally I have
to zoom a funeral that no one can
attend, except the one trans-gendered
daughter endless in her box beside
my over-whelmed and grieving, unbelieving
colleague. Winston Turner at a distance
plays trombone, Tannon Williams trumpet.
I agree. We’ll fly away.


Brad Crenshaw lives in Santa Cruz, CA, and has authored 5 poetry collections, including My Gargantuan Desire (2010); and Genealogies (2016). His fifth book, Memphis Shoals, is due to be published in Spring, 2021. He has published many poems in journals, as well as articles in literary criticism and theory, and 3 articles in neuroscience. They can be found at Blue Islands, Blue as Ink.

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