Extra Extra

 

 
        Attention…Evacuate Your Cities
        U.S. leaflets, 1945 (Paul Ham)
 
Before the bomb, it was a punishable offense
to pick up warnings Americans dropped on
Nagasaki. The flyers soaked in still water,
floated down the river with cracked branches,
their leaves green. Handouts swept along iron
grate fences, unread in schoolyards. Only
authorities could lift the words to their eyes
and see the script before the act played out
again. ‘Hiroshima’ came from ‘generous’
before it became the benevolence of a bully
mailing an invite to the flag pole. A sky that
gives manna gives death notice, wind scraping
the papers along boulevards as if they had
missed trash cans. It had the sound of dragging
a rake across a field to be sown. How easy
to be taken as signs of life; left face down on
the asphalt, the word ‘evacuate’ means stay.
 
 
  

Geoff Anderson teaches foreigners English and Americans Italian. He curated Columbus, OH's first poetry show dedicated to biracial writers, The Other Box, and is a Callaloo fellow. His work appears or is forthcoming in S/WORD, B O D Y, Lunch Ticket, and www.andersongeoff.com