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Sunday, October 01, 2006

WE ARE FAMILY

by Susan H. Case


I’m reading about another country going nuclear
and how we, this collective we, have snuck in
undercover to get information on what to strike.
I hope we don’t.
Because maybe someone’s here, doing the same
thing, and could retaliate, destabilize my favorite park
bench, where I take my dogs.
How could I know this bench sits on a secret stash
of proliferating enriched uranium?
I worry about quotidian concerns—like the pigeon shit
on the window ledge; I’m waiting for
the next big rain storm to wash it all away, not
thinking about sabotage,
regime change—while the window, everything
may be about to blow.

We are all one family. Aren’t we?

Here’s a story about families:
my dad and uncle don’t talk to one another for twenty-five
years. Finally, I say—this is ridiculous,
let’s have a little détente—and I drive my father
to New Jersey for a reunion before one of them dies.
In my uncle’s nursing home room, they sit, snipe
at each other, not even clandestinely, for the afternoon.
Later, my dad says he’s glad he went—it makes him happy
to compare their lives, to see his brother ended up worse.


Susan H. Case, professor at the New York Institute of Technology, has recent work in many journals, including: Eclipse, Georgetown Review, Gulf Stream Magazine, Oyez Review, Pebble Lake Review and Saranac Review, as well as the anthology, Rough Places Plain: Poems Of The Mountains. Recently nominated for a Pushcart Prize, she is the author of The Scottish Café (Slapering Hol Press, 2002), Hiking The Desert In High Heels (RightHandPointing, 2005), and Anthropologist In Ohio (Main Street Rag Publishing Company, 2005).