- Acceptance, Finally, and: In Our Time
as when a street out of townevens, narrows without warninginto a gentle right turn
neither of us anticipated, thenabruptly enters a dense fog so we stop andlog hours of lying still on our
backs like two girls at the toeof a tall pine, tugging at our wrists and tilting our kneesup until at last bare needles
high in the trees scribbleacross the sky's clearing (we twist over each othersquinting to see) what one day
we will remember as, theclouds now sweeping south, a surge of sheer delight:our blue prize. [End Page 23]
In Our Time
In our time we needed no wallsto protect us from our enemies, notbecause our enemies had no ladders,as they'd had in earlier times, norbecause we had finally made peace,but because walls, as we built them,consisted of only water and earth,so soon would crumble. In our timeour enemies came to believe in us
and fear us, both, as though they knewwe knew our strengths were justified.In our time, our enemies, no matterhow carefully they tried to avoid us,could be found everywhere-at leastby us. In fact, whenever we traced them,we could defeat our enemies each timewe found even one of them wanting,so in these acts defeated ourselves. This
was not new, but in our time we becamethe ones anxious to expose our enemiesas everyone else's enemies, looking awayfrom ourselves, always lookingaway from ourselves. In our time,water and earth were plentifuland cheap, almost as plentiful, in fact,as our enemies. We stood still onlywhen no one else was paying attention.
In our time, we worshiped the moneywe printed with the tenderness of love,not because we intended to oppressthose who refused to oppose our enemies [End Page 24] and devote themselves to our searching,nor because our money was beautiful,but because our money began to disappear,replaced by the phantom of moneyin which we believed but which soon,no matter how carefully we traced it,
we came to fear-a phantom of a lovewe sensed we should never question,despite its sweet scent, not as an idol,really, but more as a living god wehastily yet faithfully, in our earnestdesire to suppress all our knownenemies, even those we need notdefend ourselves from, had devisedas the justifier of all the unjustifiedthings we wanted to be done.
We needed no walls, we needed noenemies, and we most of all neededno more money, really. We hardlyneeded water and earth, looking away,always away from ourselves. We hadour phantom, for which we stood still,but we had no ladders for climbingso defeated ourselves while no one elsewas paying attention, and not longafter that, we crumbled. [End Page 25]
John Gery is the author of five books of poetry, including Davenport's Version (Portals Press), previously reviewed in Prairie Schooner, and A Gallery of Ghosts (Story Line Press). He has been named a Fulbright Fellow at the University of Belgrade for the Spring of 2007. His work appears in Callaloo, Paideuma, New Orleans Review, and elsewhere.