Late News

In a small town in western Pennsylvania, a Polish workman
is killing everyone.

Who can say how the world seems
to Dombrowski this morning? It is as different
as a doberman’s or a general’s.

If this is a war,
Dombrowski is winning. If we are the enemy,
as by now we are, cover his hairy chest with ribbons.

Dombrowski peers out of his shell of a house
and the neighbors go round like neighbors
in a gallery and the police go round.

A man down the line at the plant says Things
ate on him lately, but no more than nobody else.
He does not wish to be named.
The dead
do not wish to be named, pending notification.

It is a quiet neighborhood, the kids lying
beside their bicycles, the lovers kissing nothing
forever on the porch swing.

Is there something
Dombrowski wants? The chief says A nut like that,
they ought to kill themself.

What if, in sullen wisdom,
we give in, retreat from the little town, or all
of Pennsylvania? Let the mad inherit their corner
of earth.

There would be space for miles
where only wind would blow. After a while, the mines
would go back to the grass. Bass would lie deep
in the Allegheny, as if they had never gone away.

One morning even Dombrowski might lay down his gun,
walk naked in a meadow that had been his yard.
Great waves of butterflies would ride the wind
and the ground would drum with distant hooves.

There is a sun so old no man has seen it.
In Pennsylvania, Dombrowski lifts his eyes.

:: Richard Blessing, in Working Classics: Poems on Industrial Life

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