The News Ending with a Riff

James Hoch

Mostly bad. And what isn’t is god awful

coming through the radio. You know this,

you’ve heard enough, but keep it low,

so as not to disturb the island fortress

your son is building. You are acting like

there is a place living hasn’t damaged.

If forest, if ocean, you call it Heaven.

If honeysuckle over chain link, Heaven.

A friend’s word, Heaven. And in Heaven

there is no news on the radio, not ever,

just songs he can mouth all the words to.

It’s not real, of course, but mostly

you play along, as if he doesn’t know

the world is full of terrible things, that you are

not wasting time digging moats, stocking

a forest thick with spells, or, stacking

sand upon sand, sure, sure the seawall’s

high enough to keep sharks out of the garden.

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