Saturday, February 21, 2009

Heritage day

A moment of quiet, birds
at the feeder, cats napping
as the trees keep their ears warm
under their little snow caps

and then the CF-18s
tear a hole in the sky. They can call it
a festival, or chalk it up to
arctic sovereignty but all it takes
is a small rip, wiggle your fingers in
and pull, and the day is split

down the middle

torn fabric imperfectly matched
along its rough edges. And what
will fall through? A bomb

fell through my grandparents’ roof
more than six decades ago, and so
I duck instinctively when
the bombers go over. I call it
a reflex, or chalk it up to
ancestral memory because all it takes

is a small rip and the day
is torn.


Rachel Westfall
February 20, 2009

7 comments:

confused said...

some memories never leave..wonderful piece

Kyddryn said...

When I was a child, I would watch the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds perform aerial feats and clapped and cheered even as I huddled down between my grown-up's legs for safety.

Now I'm grown, I usually duck, hunch my head down between my shoulders, or move under a tree or overhanging rock (if I'm outside) when helicopters or fighters go over...for no other reason than my lizard brain knows predators when it hears them. I don't fear wolves, dogs, bears, wildcats, or any of nature's dangers...but men...men and their constructs...they can be terrifying.

I love the image of the day torn asunder. Beautiful, and apt.

Shade and Sweetwater,
K

Julie said...

Wow. Karen, this is an excellent poem. "Ancestral memory" is a perfect way to describe that feeling of horror. The beginning starts out so beautifully normal and leads us to the terrifying memory. Very powerful work!

Lisa said...

oh that is so good- so very good xx

Karen said...

This is a beautiful reminder to glory in the moments of peace that we have. The image of this peaceful day split by the reminder of destruction is chilling.

RachelW said...

Thanks, everyone, for your comments. Some memories never do fade.

A plane keeps going overhead, just now. My son has made a very nice paper model of an anti-aircraft missile that he's tossing around. It contains a couple of little messages that fall out when it strikes its target; they say "Take that!" I wonder where he got the idea???

Poetikat said...

I hate when the noise of engines breaks the tranquility of the day. I'm not one for air-shows.

Kat