Poem

Let’s See What Happens Next | Mid-20th Century Salvation


Let’s see what happens next

as if we are sitting in a movie theater
watching our future unfold;
we are the mortals
and the Titans peer down on earth
as they play at being gods.

Sit back relax
there’s nothing you can affect
in any measurable way

Who are you to speak so casually to me
about what happens next?
Are there no plans secure as nails in a cross?

Oh wait––
those weren’t anything
that could hold anything down.
Osiris rises from the dead
and Charon brings him across the river
wearing a shroud still wet with Mary’s tears,
bloodied with open wounds.

They say some gods knew their destinies;
what makes them so special?

Meanwhile I sit on my sofa across from you,
maybe snicker or lift one side of a lip,
wink back at fate, as I pretend.

I am all false bravado
in need of a crystal ball,
a pack of Tarot cards,
a Ouija board.
I don’t like surprises

and you sit across from me, feign comfort
as if you expect something good to surprise you;
a birthday pony or a box of fancy Swiss chocolates
wrapped in gold foil with a blue ribbon
that signifies you have won something.

Let’s see what happens next

Don’t lie to me and tell me you’re not afraid.


Mid-20th Century Salvation

I was certain I would never see home again.
Under the desk, hands over my head,
I waited for the hell-burning clouds of war
to descend upon PS 125.

I prayed for an invasion of avenging angels
descending in flying saucers,
heads larger than the moon,
containing all the truths about love, religion,
universal language, the story of time,
about what was important to stop the insanity.

This would unite the world; this intervention
would bring a common hatred.
These pure beings would be sacrificed
on an altar of fear, their message would be lost
so our nations could have a common enemy.

But maybe, just maybe, some of their compassion,
their spirit, their lessons would take hold,
after all, there were those of us who cried
for Nagasaki, for Hiroshima.

About Charlene Stegman Moskal

Charlene Stegman Moskal is a Teaching Artist for the Alzheimer’s Poetry Project in Las Vegas, Nevada, under the auspices of the Las Vegas Poetry Promise Organization. Her first chapbook One Bare Foot was published by Zeitgeist Press. A second is forthcoming from Finishing Line Press in 2022.

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