Summer 2011 • Vol. XXXIII No. 3 Poetry |

Are We Not Safe Here?

There is something very strange now about the wars, how they seem to go on and on all by themselves, whether anyone's tending them or not. None of our roofs are flying the black flags—all the smoke must be in somebody else's sky. Often at night I hear the groan of an airplane under the stars, but nobody here mistakes it for the angel of death. Mostly the summer nights on our street shine darkly, like mother of pearl, and the moon is aloof and stunning—it surprises me and stops me in my tracks, and I end up gazing and thinking of gold and steel or some other kind of alchemy. That's what I'm doing out on the curb. Something is shimmering. This search for the one pure element. Two or three houses down a light comes on, smooth and hypnotic beneath the relentless whirl of the constellations. After a time it goes off again. Josephus Flavius, Jew and then Roman, who mentions the word Jesus just twice, obliquely, in his massive history of the wars in Judea, once invited a group of elder

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Frank X. Gaspar is an American poet, novelist, and professor of Portuguese descent. His most recent novel is Stealing Fatima (Counterpoint press, December, 2009). His collection of poetry, Night of a Thousand Blossoms (Alice James Books, 2004) was one of twelve books honored as the "Best Poetry of 2004" by Library Journal. His most recent collection of poems is Late Rapturous, from Autumn House Press.

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