It's just poetry, it won't bite

Civil Service


12.01.18 Posted in today's words by

Gary Duehr’s most recent poem to appear here was “Soliloquy” (July 2018).

Civil Service
By Gary Duehr

This is the winter of dissing content,
Of people trying to figure out what everything’s meant.
In Boston, the streets are slush.
A couple feet so far, another on its way tonight. Too much?
Fences lean, a tree limb bends
Toward power lines. A neighbor digs out the snowy sculpture
Of his car. What does the future
Hold for us? A heaviness? And how to make amends?
What to say to civil servants, who hear
Horror-movie music—
A thumping bass, the strings’ bright shriek—
Before the startle-scare, the jump from nowhere. It’s clear
The sense of dread is visceral.
No one knows what’s next. It’s so unreal.
Should they sound the alarm and tweet
Through rogue accounts, like @AngryWH Staffer,
Or should they retreat
To corner bars to plot a lunchtime protest, after
Polishing their resumes? When you’re punched in the gut
Too many times
Is it possible to close your eyes to alleged crimes
And just do your job? Anything but.
Once in a lifetime, you must choose a side.
Civilization demands it.
More crackdowns on mothers of two who’ve tried
To do their best? More degrading orders? Who can stand it?
Choose! Choose! Feelings are raw
Just three weeks in, I know. Outside, a light snow screens
The apple tree in front. Here, it all seems
Normal, an ordinary afternoon. You pick up a book to read. Ah.



One Response to “Civil Service”

  1. Nicholas Alexander says:

    Love it

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