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Wednesday, February 17, 2021


by Marc Swan

for Jane Ferguson

Birds shriek, buildings fall,
body counts mount
in Beirut, Kabul, Baghdad,
parts of Africa, South Asia.
Where have all the flowers gone
I think in the quiet of my office
on a quiet road in a quiet village
along the coast of Maine. I try
to imagine reporting live 
from these hostile locales, 
most importantly staying alive. 
I think of a Special Correspondent
for PBS, an Irish-British journalist 
with long blond hair tucked 
under a head scarf, jeans 
and a military-style jacket
treading lost roads in leather boots
with another woman, camera in hand.
We never see her, but know
she’s shooting the footage
we’ll see on the nightly news.
In recent reports, the Taliban 
armed to the teeth 
seem more than willing to speak 
on camera as the journalist 
asks hard questions in Arabic, 
translated for us in the comfort 
of heated living spaces unaware 
of what is truly seen, heard, 
felt in places of unending conflict—
what does constant fear smell like?

Marc Swan’s latest collection all it would take was published in May 2020 by tall-lighthouse. Poems recently published or forthcoming in Gargoyle, The Stony Thursday Book, Queen’s Quarterly, MockingHeart Review.  He lives in coastal Maine with his wife Dd, an artist and yoga teacher.