Doug Anderson

How Shabby, Poetry


How soft and useless against a tank.

The dark fills up the streets like water.

We are all slogging through it, thigh deep--

the rising water is our century

and we feel helpless against it.

We are carrying whatever is precious—

a child, ourselves? That is what a poem is.

Let me touch you with the part of me

that is also you, and like lightning,

illuminate the nerves that carry the best of us

in this long night. That is all I want—

these few words I’ve shaken from the greater hoard

with my mind’s colander, the right ones only

for this utterance, this barely more than breath.

This small love. You’d be surprised

how just a little of it will get you through.