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The Day of the Cardboard Cutters

Some who had made it to the top
of our Himalayas perished there
when September was still young,
nonchalance still possible.

At the corner of Dresden and Guernica
confettied letters of intent.

War without borders on Everest,
the one stop trade
center, grounded by a rush
to fly the big planes.

Merrill Lynch on strategies
to minimize estate shrinkage.

Giant facings dwarfed
to a twist like imported Japanese
Bonsai trees among the scattered
fragments of skin and fingers.

Marsh and McLennan offering
risk insurance services.

Our innocence lost
after the 15$ martini
in the Greatest Bar on Earth,
a thurible of incense to Allah.

Ameritrade’s Darwin: Survival
of the Fittest Trade Simulator.

Window on the World at the top,
dining for Lehman Brothers
turning soft dollars
into hard money. Vaporized.

Trust Oracle’s predictions
on negative cash flow.

Bank of America, elevator
to the ninth floor, built
on dollars, focused on the bottom
line to the last. Gone.

Beretta’s 682 Gold
exclusive shotgun of the year.

The electronic zipper flashing
moving stock quotes,
savvy fiscal joy,
caught in the permanent present.

Nikko Securities provides
quality trade executions.

The day time split
firemen, police, priest
in new body bags
on the way to the refrigerated truck.

The Board of Options gives comfort
level to your vertical spread.

Nineteen martyrs speaking
scripture undoing creation
to homogenized mulch welcomed
to paradise by 72 virgins.

Steady Morgan Stanley
creates customized answers.

Six stories of hell,
the city cemetery at the Bowery
burns beneath the girders
stenciled “Made in America.”

A manual on Dispute Resolution
open to page five.

The heavens rain people,
towers fall, and at the ferry
the attendant takes tickets
for the quick ride to Jersey.

Salomon’s revised -- much
revised -- baseline scenarios.

Surprised? We export our decay:
Dallas’ dense vulgarity,
Deep Throat’s sensitivity,
Rambo’s geo-political swagger.

The name of the Hercules Heavy
Recovery Tank is survivability.

The ugly American still wants
a Sunday stroll in the park,
the hand lolling in the water
behind the canoe. Nonchalance.

If we want the Empire State
Building to stand, give them hope.

-- Fr. Kilian McDonnell, OSB
Collegeville, Minn.


Simmering in the Afterglow.


Tug me back homeless
’til the dawn
finds me shivering by the coals.

-- Thomas J. Kessler
Turtle Lake, Wis.

Spring Harvest

Cold wet gray March. I’m digging
in a garden not my own,
getting the beds ready for seed,
for the hope of hot summer.
I turn up dirt, the roots of weeds and grasses,
an old glass bottle, tags from last year’s garden,
great lumps of soft dark soil, two worms,
and something red … a new potato,
firm, round, perfect, ready for harvest,
unlikely as an Easter egg,
but there’s another and another,
not one in every spadeful, but
every once in a while, as fresh and edible
as daily bread, as grace,
where I did not plant.

-- Sr. Susan Dewitt, CSJP

2001 in Poetry

2000 in Poetry

1999 in Poetry

Poems should be previously unpublished and limited to about 50 lines and preferably typed. Please send poems to NCR POETRY, 115 E. Armour Blvd., Kansas City MO 64111-1203. Or via e-mail to poetry@natcath.org or fax (816) 968-2280. Please include your street address, city, state, zip and daytime telephone number. NCR offers a small payment for poems we publish, so please include your Social Security number.

National Catholic Reporter, November 9, 2001