goldmourn (amberdawnpullin) wrote,

Alternate History

Thanks to papilleau, who posted this in greatpoets recently.

Alternate History

No one in fatigues has ever walked point
Down Chestnut Trails
Between the carefully mown lawns
And swing sets, ducking not to snag
The barrel of a rifle
On my neighbor's ornamental cherry
The sound of helicopter rotors
Has never roused me from cold sleep.
Planes at night don't rumble--
Wait the concussive shock
Of cluster bombs. Nor do I
Wonder if my son, digging a bike jump
Will find a landmine
The grocery is open and hums the fluorescent purr
Of a refrigerator. The shelves are full
Of honey dijon salad dressing, Pop Tarts
Cheetos and Fritos and Cheerios,
Cold yellow butter.
I have never stood in line
For canned milk and clean water
The heat always works in winter.
Boys in fatigues never knocked on my door
Walked through my house,
Pointed to my husband and son, said,
"Come with me." I have never
Watched them walk my men across Tinker's Creek
Towards the baseball diamond
Straining to see the light
Shine on the fine blonde of my boy's hair,
And listened to the distant
Firecracker pop pop pop
Of gunfire.

- Maureen McHugh
Tags: great poets

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