Tricia Knoll is a Vermont poet whose work appears widely in journals and anthologies. Her poems are collected in Urban Wild (Finishing Line Press), Ocean’s Laughter (Kelsay Books), Broadfork Farm (The Poetry Box), and How I Learned To Be White (Antrim House). Website: triciaknoll.com
Name the Dread
A fear of falling into the sky has a name,
but not the dread that sky may fall on you.
A prophesy for Aeschylus said something falling
would kill him. He believed in oracles.
He sat only in sunshine away from shadows,
buildings, and heavy-limbed trees.
Then what befell him the day an eagle flew
over his bald head, thought his scalp a rock
and dropped a turtle from its talons thinking
to smash the shell on a shining boulder.
Death-by-turtle-fall for this tragedian who said
and now it goesas it goes and where it ends is Fate.
Falling skies in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Hiroshima
and Nagasaki sound booms louder than thunder,
sun-ups brighter than lightning. If the fear of all bombs
has no name, bombs do – Grand Slam, the Mother of All
Bombs is so big she requires her own cargo plane.
The Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP).
Little Boy. Fat Boy. Someone other than poets
and priests choose these noms de guerre.
An ecology teacher walked in Oxbow Park in January
with her fiancé in a light wind by the Sandy River.
A cottonwood twitched, toppled, trapped her,
killed her. Two-hundred silent teens came
to her open-casket funeral to say good-by,
this their first death of the known young.
In a flowered skirt, her mother hunched
on a stool beside the bier to read a story
to her that ends Good night noises everywhere