Poetry November 2005

Panel at the Press Club

She who had most trouble saying anything
at all, expressionless in her blue blazer
and white silk shirt and sipping her glass of water
and looking away, eyes far from everything,

she who knew firsthand, what was it she was thinking?
the others' earnest voices rang out eerily
somnambulant, equivocating over "enemy,"
tongues to a high gloss polishing

"freedom," "casualty," "most regrettably,"
"that's where the force comes in"but what was it
she was thinking—remembering, maybe,
how during the bombardment she sat

hunched in her apartment, watching water
tremble, slosh, ripple, smooth over,
until the next shock wave through I-beams
rises, fish darting into her aquarium's

corners, ornamental blue crests wavering,
striped gills fluttering, fins twitching
to explosions rolling through what
she called, betraying no emotion, "rocket streets"?

Tom Sleigh is the author of five books of poems, including Far Side of the Earth and The Dreamhouse. His collection of essays, Interview With a Ghost, will be published next year.
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