Justice Putnam

(26 March 1955 / Eugene, Oregon)

The Dates Of Demarcation


How many times
Can a Heart be broken
How many times
Can a resolve be tested

Is this the meaning
Of Life?

To be reminded
At the most unexpected
Time of
Pain and impermanence

How many times?

I hear the voices
Of those whose
Memories of
Lost innocence

Are etched with the
Precision of a Calendar
On the Stone of History:

Jack London remembered
The Boxer Rebellion
Jack Reed recalled more
Than Ten Days

Hemingway remembered
A hospital in Italy
Salinger talked of
Dresden’s fiery face

Our Grandparents
Think of the Seventh
Of December

While others recall

A day in Dallas
A balcony in Memphis
A hotel in LA

How many more times
How many more generations

Will be born into this
Impending loss?

How many more
Incidents of horror
Before the last
Vestige of innocence
Is carried away?

These questions
May seem on the surface
To be a plea

But
How many more times

How many more images
Of a woman

Her dress blown
In a fall among

Glass
Concrete
Steel
Fire?

(New York, New York 2002)

Submitted: Saturday, January 13, 2007
Edited: Saturday, December 25, 2010

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