The Target is Obvious by Laura Manuelidis


So now everyone will die except the criminals
The terrorists, the heads of states
Perpetuating their ownership
Of something common.
I speak of hate.

The day is perfect in New Haven
The sky expanding blue
Interrupted only by a green incandescence
Pasted on the stalwart branches
With each trunk straight as Nathan Hale.

And the students moving almost perfectly
Each one peculiar, and yet similar
As a towering stack of books
In youthful grace between the trees
Shocked for a moment, but then incapable
Of understanding what it means
Their voices in patterns of the grass—

There are, of course, some city faces:
The Moslems and the Jews, and foreigners
All mingling together in fluent waves
As friends need to do,
Whose silent small gesticulations show a premonition of
How it feels inside
The shadows of smoke so ancient
In crumbling towers at the start of old New York.

And also the Yankee relatives
That made this park its rhetoric
Caught working the tower’s rich height near dawn
Where pavement continues to fall away
As the foot steps down
Already it’s too late.

The smoke can’t really reach New Haven.
Not yet.
And not until tomorrow we are told
Will bombs fly their fury’s cargo
To hit some faces just like yours
In a field, in a house, in a village
That would have done just fine

Remember September 11, 2001
It is another date.


Laura Manuelidis is a physician with an eclectic education (including several well known poets) who "professes" at Yale; publications in neurosciences, best known for work on "Mad-Cow" and other neurodegenerative diseases. She also teaches undergraduates on the interface of poetry and science.  Her work has appeared in the Nation.

"Trades" first appeared in Yale Poetry Group

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