There are countries, states, laws, constitutions,
Bible, Koran, catechisms, versicles.
Multiple versions, different procedures,
corrections and penalties.
As if we, humans, because having spread ourselves
around our entire world, were diverse,
dissimilar, incompatible beings.
The truth, so little faced and assumed,
and indoctrinated with so little faith,
is that we came destined to keep alive
the flame of mutual and supportive love,
free from color, race, religion walls and borders.
We have had intelligence and culture to, unluckily,
only improve our mismatches and idiosyncrasies.
The longer we stay on this strange route,
we will be farther from the promised land,
that Canaan where milk and honey flow,
and evil has no place and hides,
defeated, confused and humiliated.
Edilson Afonso Ferreira
Mr. Ferreira, 76 years, is a Brazilian poet who writes in English rather than in Portuguese. Largely published in international journals in print and online, he began writing at age 67, after retirement as a bank employee. Nominated for The Pushcart Prize 2017, his first Poetry Collection, Lonely Sailor, One Hundred Poems, was launched in London, November 2018. He is always updating his works at www.edilsonmeloferreira.com.
Something happened here.
Beneath this tree, a pigeon’s worth
of feathers lies scattered among stones.
In the dazzling desert light, six white
strong-shafted quills designed for flight
catch my eye. I bend to pluck them,
take them home. Blocks away, near
her old apartment, hawks nest. Sometimes
I pass for a view of those high branches
that leaf and lose their leaves,
for a glimpse of hawks,
for a longer walk and the long run
of memories we made. But why save
these six feathers? A pigeon became
a raptor’s meal—that’s the story
I imagine—and why commemorate
a death I only guess has happened?
A souvenir is nothing but a wish
to preserve the evanescent,
a pretense of permanence.
Take, for instance, a seventh feather
I spotted as we stood sealed, embracing
beside a train. All the colors of ash,
it had come to rest between the rails.
I warned her not to reach
beneath the wheels to pick it up,
though she hadn’t moved to leave
my arms. Soon, the train would roll
away, but for now there was no
danger. So I let that feather go
and wisely made the most of one last
chance to hold her close. Now
six feathers lie scattered on my desk:
not the pure white I detected from afar,
not the white silence of a blank page
in the face of a myriad unasked questions
and too much left to say, but white
smudged pale gray at their tips and edges.
Still I keep them, to spite their lack
of meaning and the way they take me
back to a mid-October day, a train
on a westbound track, a woman I call
love, who promised nothing, and a lone
pigeon feather, gone. Lost forever.
Marisa P. Clark
Marisa P. Clark is a queer writer from the South whose work has appeared in Apalachee Review, Cream City Review, Foglifter, Potomac Review, Rust + Moth, Whale Road Review, and elsewhere, with work forthcoming in Shenandoah, Nimrod, Epiphany, and Evening Street Review, among others. She was twice the winner of the Agnes Scott College Writers’ Festival Prizes (in fiction, 1996; in nonfiction, 1997), and Best American Essays 2011 recognized her creative nonfiction among its Notable Essays. She reads fiction for New England Review and makes her home in New Mexico with three parrots and two dogs.
To resist through nonviolence, yes—
I’ll do what the data says is wise.1
But to love is another matter:
I may wave the flag, but I am no patriot;
Is it not better to burn what they betray?
If the house is rotten, I leave it to the carpenter
To destroy or Reconstruct. I am fine with either.
Yes, nothing grows without rot—
No rich soil, no history to study and to learn—
But the illiterate draw their own lessons, wield
Their own weapons.
I have run out of words of outrage.
One day there will be monuments
To tell of this dangerous time:
What structures will the architects design?
What wild rantings will the walls inscribe?
I am no thief. All that is mine is mine.
Shall I first confiscate this epoch,
Make it mine to censure or delete? 2 3
What of the graffiti I may not find?
The encrypted hard drive I can’t erase?
The yard signs yet to decay…?
No, it would take millions to do the job.
We, redeemers of what—an idea?
Nearly half the population?
At Appomattox no treaty was signed,
For there was no truce to be had:
Democracy always teeters between deliverance
My greatest pleasure in overcoming this trial
Would be to never have reason to relive it.
1 Robson, David. The ‘3,5% rule’: How a small minority can change the world. May 14, 2019. BBC. <http://www.bbc.com/future/story/20190513-it-only-takes-35-of-people-to-change-the-world>
2 Robey, Tracy. The Long History of ‘Damnatio Memoriae’ and the Destruction of Monuments. August 16, 2019. Jezebel. <https://pictorial.jezebel.com/the-long-history-of-damnatio-memoriae-and-the-destructi-1797860410>
3  Bond, Sarah. Erasing the Face of History. May 14, 2011. The New York Times. <https://www.nytimes.com/2011/05/15/opinion/15bond.html>
Andy Posner grew up in Los Angeles and earned an MA in Environmental Studies at Brown. While there, he founded Capital Good Fund, a nonprofit that provides financial services to low-income families. When not working, he enjoys reading, writing, watching documentaries, and ranting about the state of the world. He has had his poetry published in several journals, including Burningword Literary Journal (which nominated his poem ‘The Machinery of the State’ for the Pushcart Poetry Prize), Noble/Gas Quarterly, and The Esthetic Apostle.