Wednesday 6 April 2022

One Poem by Lilija Valis




I’m gathering herbs

for an ailing visitor waiting

in my tree-sheltered home

while a posse of town authorities

is preparing an ambush.


There is a list.


Can’t escape the past

the future is tornadoing in.


It’s an old script, time-tested

and I’m well-rehearsed,

since childhood, circled over

by a military plane aiming

for the lone family running

on the road outside a burning town,

my baby sister in my mother’s arms.


The theatre is public,

every thought requires approval,

someone has to be blamed,

new troubles require new sacrifices.

Everyone knows how it ends.


Those on the list are warned

by name calling, a method

used for thousands of years

                   to appease the gods.

Once it becomes a chorus,

the nicest people join in

to call for death of the named

be it brother or sister.

The hunt can stop and resume

                          any time.


Yes the future is twisting

                           toward me.

Daily I hear about new punishments,

all escape routes are closed,

permission required to cross the street,

ancestral crops razed in favour

                          of fake food,

medicine distributed to cut time.


My kindly neighbour listens

to the authority’s orders every day.

Repetition is a powerful drug.

She suspects I’m not a believer

and so a risk. When we last talked

she was inside her house

front door open

and I stood just outside

at a safe distance,

                              in the rain.

We used to visit each other frequently.


On the outside, I look like

                        everyone else.

It’s when I open my mouth

that I’m exposed as someone

                         not in line.                           


I know what’s coming,

history is my mentor,

my ancestors live in me.


Can’t escape the past,

the future is flaming my way

but the present is still mine.


I have planted a lilac bush

outside my window

and am preparing a meal as I sing

a song I learned long ago,

then will go for a walk by the river

with the blue-eyed Siberian Husky

                    who adopted me.

Lilija Valis has lived on three continents, in some major cities, including Washington, DC, and San Francisco when there was music in the streets and strangers hugged each other, published in book, literary and e-zine magazines, as well as nine international anthologies, and performed in public libraries, parks, old theatres, pubs, among other places.

Asked to step side by COVID until it finishes its performance.



No comments:

Post a Comment

One Poem by John Yamrus

  she was not your typical girl next door. to begin with, she had a name that sounded like a bottle of cheap perfume. but, she did have the ...