It Must Not Happen
By Sharon Olinka
My days like water. I clip the toenails
of the Great One. Follow strict orders to obey
him. Blurred hours of rinsing rice, endless fight
against dust. Bleat of goats outside. Drawn
to my husband's computer, not permitted
to touch it. Renamed "Nafira." I was
Stephanie, lived in Los Angeles. They call me
one of the Saved Ones, but every night I dream
of car keys, music, lipstick, movies, laughter and palm
trees. My new husband is patient with me. He knows I saw
buildings crumble, how thick smoke
nearly claimed me. I thought, this must
not happen. At times I feel
fire burn through me. It's when I walk
quietly towards the vegetable market,
with my chaperone. Or when I remember
my mother's shredding skin, don't understand
why my husband lies beside me.
What this has to do with God.
But I knew when I brought
the Great One soup, I could not kill him.
I saw the Towers in his eyes.
How silver cell phones, crumpled paper
fell from windows. My shoes.
My red dress. My cabinet
of denials. My innocence.
Where I once lived
there were so many prayer vigils.
I believed them.
I saw the Great One's purple robe,
his feet. I looked down, as instructed.
Not at his face.
I have become water.
Everything has burned away.
And even if I still believe
I'll wake up
tomorrow in my own bed,
in Los Angeles,
as I might, as you
still might, wherever
you are, know only this:
the bad dream
has entered us. We cannot
lose ourselves, go to meet it.
No more mass burials
by a harbor.
Nothing major happened to me on Tuesday, and I know Wednesday is a hard day for a lot of people -- for everyone, really -- and I have nothing profound to say. I didn't have the stomach to watch Obama's address live; I watched the commentary (my favorite being Jon Stewart ridiculing the pundits for being annoyed that Kerry inadvertently might have given Putin a way to help avoid a war and steal a big story from the nightly news).
Apart from seeing bunnies and a frog and watching a bit of the Nationals win and the Orioles loss, my only news worth reporting is that the remake of Total Recall is marginally less misogynistic than the original, though there's way too little Bill Nighy and people of color keep getting killed, and while the female characters kick ass, everything they do revolves around devotion to more powerful men. Some signs of fall from Boonesborough Days: