Monday, June 12, 2006

"Schadenfreude" by Keith Harvey

Starting in 1944, the B-29 Superfortress was used in the Pacific Theater. The most famous B-29 was the Enola Gray, which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945.


Bottle flies buzz in September.
Bumblebees wallow in yellow flowers.

At the sound of the siren,
the matron orders,
you must slide from your seat,
shelter yourself beneath your desk,
plant your head between your knees,
and thread your hands over your neck.

Anna crouches
beneath her desk
and I see her white panties.

On the way home
butterflies dance from rose blooms,
hummingbirds drink from honeysuckle,
and mockingbirds trill in the oak trees.

We play in Anna’s shelter.
We lay on cool concrete
and imagine an after-world,
as mice scurry
behind cartons
of surplus K-Rations.
Our sweaty hands
reach for darkness.

At home I lie on my bed.
B-29s hang from the ceiling,
pieces of a half constructed B-24
cover my desk.
I hear the president on television
and I dream of the world after
with Anna and the mice
in the gray coolness
of the shelter
where our hands touch

the shadows.

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