Editorial: A Statement of Policy
Editorial: A Statement Of Policy
The Chrislip Journal is a staff-written periodical. Although stories or articles are sometimes assigned to non-staffers, The Journal seldom publishes unsolicited material.
But there are exceptions. In this issue, for example, you’ll find a couple of poems that sound as if they were written by one of those fat, weepy, self-involved, insecure, boola-boola girls who sits in her bedroom watching life pass by and writing odes to its serendipity, which she can only imagine since she’s too terrified to go out into the world and experience life herself. But I don’t want to give you the wrong impression of Jane Stuckey, and author of those poems. She isn’t fat.
I met Jane at the Lauder-Boy Laundromat on Keekaunee Boulevard, which is where I usually go to shrink my socks. It was late in the evening, and Jane was only one other person in the place; a nondescript girl with short, mousy hair and clothes that seemed too dark for the season. She looked familiar in an offhand way; I guessed I’d seen her around campus. There was a spark of recognition of her part, too. Out of the corner of my eye I could see her staring at me quizzically, as if trying to make some obtuse connection. Finally she came over.
“Hi,” said she.
“Hi,” said I.
“You’re Todd Farris. You’re the editor of the Journal.”
I was already vaguely aware of both of those fact, so I just nodded. I assumed she was going to threaten to cry rape unless I handed over my money, as this is becoming a more or less regular occurrence in life (see previous editorial). But she had other things on her mind.
“Know what your magazine needs?” she asked.
Besides subscribers? I thought. Besides a glossy cover? Besides a staff that doesn’t fly into an emotional tizzy at the mention of the word “deadline”?
“No, what?” I said.
“You need poetry. Have you guys ever published original poems?”
“Do dirty limericks count?”
“Then I guess we haven’t.”
“You might consider it,” she said. “As a matter of fact, I dabble in poetry myself. I’m in Marjorie Warren’s creative writing class. I’m Jane Stuckey. Maybe you’ve heard of me.”
“Oh sure,” I lied through my teeth. “You’re Jane Stuckey. You dabble in poetry in Marjorie Warren’s creative writing class.”
She seemed pleased to be recognized. “Apparently word gets around,” she said.
I asked her if she was any good. She glanced back and forth as people do before committing a war crime, then took a step backward. She struck a pose. And what a pose it was. Shoulders slumped, hands in the pockets of her well-worn black coat, face tilted upward in profile, lips long-suffering yet silent, eyes farseeing and omniscient and on the verge of crying for the human race because they alone understood the final doom that awaits all souls whether they are weighted by grief or buoyant with folly. It was the pose of a poet.
“Wow!” I said. “You are good.”
She became plain Jane Stuckey again. “Want to see some of my work? I have it with me.”
I told her I would, and she went back to where she’d been sitting and began rooting around in a loose-leaf binder. This could turn out okay, I mused. I didn’t know much about poetry, and I certainly didn’t want to inflict another Rod McKuen upon the world. But what if she was gifted? Or better yet, marketable? I visualized fine coffee tables loaded down with sleek, dustjacketed Jan Stuckey books filled with brilliantly unreadable poems. The kinds of books that rich people buy but don’t get.
“Here,” said Jane when she returned. “These are two of my best. The first one’s called ‘Weep For The Animals.’ I wrote it after taking a walk through a meadow at dusk. I could hear the chirping of crickets and the howling of coyotes, and for a moment I and the animals were one. We shared the same soul.”
“I cried when I wrote it. You can tell people that if you want to. The other one is ‘Hey, Let’s Stop Hating.’ I feel it’s the definitive anti-racist work of its generation.”
There are very few things in this world which are inarguably true. The sun rises in the east. Summer follows spring. Maury Povich is a piss-ant. As I finished the poems, I added one more truism to the list: Jane Stuckey stinks on ice.
I handed the papers back to her, my illusions of her great poetic career having vanished like Judge Crater. I swallowed hard. Jane obviously thought her poems had moved me to emotion, when actually her poems had caused a lunchtime burrito to suddenly decide to swim upstream. More swallows were needed to keep it down.
“I guess I don’t have to ask what you think,” said Jane.
I wasn’t sure what to say, so I did what I always do when someone shows me writing that isn’t fit to line a parrot cage. I told her it was very, very good.
“Thanks,” she replied. “You can keep those poems. I have copies. I’ll expect to see them in the next Journal. Maybe you can devote a future issue entirely to my work.”
No, no, no! I thought. I’d rather resign as editor than subject our readers to that putrid pentameter. I’d rather smear my body with ham fat and dive into a herd of gentile pit bulls. I’d rather be cast adrift in a sea of warm diarrhea.
“You bet,” I said.
Jane nodded, looking very smug and pleased with herself. She turned to leave.
I’ve never believed in doppelgangers, but one seemed to appear to me just then. My righteous other self tapped me on the shoulder. “You’re a nice guy, Todd,” it said. “But there’s a fine line between being a nice guy, and being a wuss. Sure, you shell out sixty cents for ‘The Watchtower’ and ‘Awake!’ when the Jehovahs come a-knocking. And when someone shoves in ahead of you in line you stare off into space and pretend not to notice. But this is different. The Journal is at stake. Do you honestly think people are going to read Stuckey’s tripe? They hardly read the tripe that’s in it now. Man your guns, boy. Assert yourself.”
“You’re right” I said.
“What?” said Jane Stuckey. She was almost to the door.
“Just a minute,” I said. “It’s about your poems. I… I… don’t think we can use them.”
She stared at me. Her mouth dropped open. Her face twitched with disbelief. You’d have thought I’d informed her that Richard Simmons was dating a woman.
“You see,” I continued, “We already have a tortured poetic type on our staff. Her name’s Anne-Marie Waterhouse. She’s good.”
Jane found her voice. “You don’t like my poems, do you?”
Normally I try not to be honest with people. It leads to too many confrontations. But sometimes the truth is necessary. “Well… uh… frankly… no,” I admitted.
I’d done it. After years of patronizing bad writers, I’d finally looked one square in the eye and said well uh frankly no. I felt proud to be Editor Todd.
I’d fantasized about dashing bad writers’ dreams before. In my fantasies they always lowered their heads and said, “You’re the editor, so I guess you know best. I thank you for being honest with me. To show my appreciation I’m going to let you sleep with my cousin Yolanda, a nymphomaniac foreign exchange student from France.” Never in my fantasies did a writer open up a washing machine and begin pelting me with my own wet clothes. But that’s what Jane Stuckey did.
“You cheesy s o b! You bastard!”
“Eat denim, you potlicker!”
A dripping pair of jeans missed my head by inches and slammed into the wall behind me. They stuck there.
“You wouldn’t know poetry if it swam up and bit you on your whatsis!” screamed the author of “Hey, Let’s Stop Hating.” Her face was the same angry shade of red as Amy Winehouse’s liver.
A pair of jockey shorts whistled through the air and caught me full in the face. I screamed and fell to the floor. I tried to pull them off, but they clung like damp pizza.
Jane found this amusing. “Hoooooo, hooooooo!” she observed.
For a moment it looked like I was going to join the long list of famous Americans who choked to death on their own underpants, but I managed to get them off before I blacked out. Just then the manager of Launder-Boy came out of the back room. She was a chunky middle-aged woman with a copy of Soap Opera Digest in her hand.
“Just what the hell’s going on out here!” she thundered.
Before I could answer, Jane spun around, pushed past the woman, and exited into the back room.
The manager fixed an accusing eye on me. “What did you do to her?” she demanded.
“I didn’t do anything,” I answered. “See, she showed me these poems…”
The manager snatched up the poems and looked them over. Then she peeled my jeans off the wall, rolled them into a tight ball, and turned toward the back room. “Let’s get her,” she said.
“I don’t want to get anybody. Let’s just let her stay back there for awhile. She’ll calm down. As for me, I’m gonna collect what’s left of my laundry and get the hell out of here.”
“Maybe that’s a good idea,” said the woman. “I seen what you were doing with them undershorts. We don’t go in for that sorta stuff here.”
She went to find Jane while I prepared to depart to a more liberal laundromat where a man could eat his shorts in peace. But the manager was back a moment later. She looked stricken.
“Your girlfriend,” she said, “is committing suicide.”
“She’s not my girlfriend,” I gasped.
But Jane Stuckey, nobody’s girlfriend, was indeed committing suicide. Or at least threatening to. She was standing in a corner, tilting a Dixie cup to her lips.
“One step closer and I’ll drink,” she said when she saw me.
“What’s in the cup, Jane?”
The manager put her hand over her mouth and began lurching around the room in unchoreographed circles. “Oxydol!” she bawled. “She’s gonna drink Oxydol!”
“You don’t want to do that, Jane,” I said softly. I held out my hand. “Come on, give me the cup.”
Jane’s voice was lifeless and robotic. “You hate my poems. You won’t publish them.”
“He hates her poems! He won’t publish them!” echoed the manager, sounding like a frantic Pip. She was still lurching.
I had an idea. “Listen,” I said, “You need to talk to someone.”
“You don’t understand me,” said Jane. “You don’t understand me and you don’t understand my poetry.”
“Maybe I don’t, but I know someone who will. I’m going to make a phone call, and I want you to stay right here. Will you do that?”
Jane hesitated. “Okay,” she finally whispered.
I went out front to the pay phone and dropped in a quarter. In the back I could hear the lurching manager. “He doesn’t understand her poetry!” she cried. “But he knows someone who will! Oh Lord, oh Lord!”
The phone was picked up on the sixth ring.
“Anne-Marie, it’s Todd,” I said.
“Oh, hi. Hey, are you watching Tyra Banks? One of the guests is a woman who weighs 48 lbs., and… ”
“Listen, this is important. I’ve got a crisis on my hands. There’s this girl who wanted to submit some of her stuff to The Journal. I turned her down and now she’s threatening to kill herself. You have to talk her out of it.”
“Because you’re an expert in these things. You’re not that different from this girl. You know, you’ve got a few toys in the attic. I mean that in the nicest way, of course.”
“Of course. Where are you?”
“Okay. I’ll be there in five minutes.” She hung up.
I went back to tell Jane that help was on the way. She was gone. The manager was sitting at her desk fanning herself with the Soap Opera Digest.
“Where’d she go?” I asked.
“Don’t worry,” said the woman. “She’s fine.”
“Did she say anything?”
“She said, ‘I’m off to the land of emptiness and gloom’.”
“And you didn’t stop her?”
“What do I care if she wants to go to Detroit?”
I explained as calmly as I could that Jane’s statement might be interpreted as something more darkly sinister. The manager said it sounded mighty like Detroit to her, and I deduced that she could be of no further help.
Exactly five minutes later, Anne-Marie Waterhouse, The Journal’s soulful, sensitive, insightful, scribe of the heartpulled up in front of Launder-Boy in her Pinto. I jumped in next to her and brought her up to date on the unfolding drama.
“‘Land of emptiness and gloom,'” she said. “Yep, that’s a metaphor for death, alrighty.”
“So where do you think she went?” I asked.
Anne-Marie shrugged. “Search me.”
“Well, the last time you tried to kill yourself, how’d you go about it?”
She looked thoughtful. “That would be a week ago Friday,” she said, as if remembering the occasion fondly. “I took four Motrin.”
“That sounds more like a cry for help than an actual suicide attempt,” I said.
She smiled sheepishly. “It’s not even much of a cry for help. It’s darn near impossible to kill yourself with Motrin. Unless you drop a case of it on your head.”
“Okay, let’s assume this girl is really intent on doing herself in. She’s a poet just like you, so put yourself in her place. How would she do it?”
Anne-Marie crinkled her brow, rubbed her chin, and sank into a zone of contemplation. Then she snapped her fingers. “Got it,” she said. “I’d go up to the top floor of the library, climb out on the ledge, and jump off while holding onto a copy of Sylvia Plath’s ‘The Bell Jar.'”
She gave me a glance that signified I’d been an ignoramus not to have thought of it myself. Then she threw her car into gear and headed for the library.
You’d think that a person like Anne-Marie, who has a lamblike soul and wouldn’t hurt a fly unless it was a really big one that was threatening the concept of art, would be a cautious driver. Not so. The girl drives like a wingnut. As her speed approached three digits, she flashed a single digit at little old ladies who had the timidity to stop at stop signs. She nearly dethumbed a pair of hitchhikers with her side-view mirror. Once or twice she put a little English on the car and drifted into the left-hand lane. All the while, as I sat paralyzed by fear and G-forces, she chattered about the mechanics of self-destruction. Never try to kill yourself with a gun: you might succeed. When jumping, try not to land on anyone important. The stomach pump at Our Lady hospital is noisier than the one at the campus infirmary, but it’s more efficient. Always begin your suicide note with a paragraph that “grabs” the reader and holds his interest. Never kill yourself when drinking, because you don’t want your soul staggering around and seeing double while it’s up there trying to explain things to God. Brush your teeth and bathe first: being dead is no excuse for ignoring good grooming habits. Try not to attempt suicide so many times that the local emergency room names a cubicle after you. Never use your death to make people feel guilty: that’s what life is for.
We vroomed up to the library, and I tumbled from the car and kissed the earth. “Do you see her?” I muttered through the dirt.
“No,” said Anne-Marie. She was scanning the darkened face of the three-story library.
I got to my feet. “This is pretty stupid, you know? What makes you think she’s going to jump off the library? There are eight million ways to kick your own bucket, and you just assume she’s gonna pick this one. It’s ludicrous. It’s ridiculous.”
“There she is.”
Anne-Marie pointed to a ledge near a third-floor window. Although it was dark, I could make out a pair of feet planted there among the flaking putty and pigeon dirt.
“I told you so,” said Anne-Marie, who is not above that sort of thing.
“She can’t be more that thirty feet up,” I said. “Is that high enough to kill a person?”
“Well,” said Anne-Marie with authority, “the Poet’s Handbook list two-hundred feet as the minimum certain suicide height. But it all depends on how she lands. Poets have brittle necks. They snap in two like an old man’s dreams. Say, that’s good.” She took a little notebook from her purse and scribbled “snap in two like an old man’s dreams” for use in a future poem.
The library door was unlocked because this is a small town with no crazy people in it. We went up to the third floor and located the window near which Jane was standing. I stuck my head out and said “hi.”
Jane didn’t answer. She was about fifteen feet down the ledge, way off in the shadows. I could just barely make out her profile against the tattletale gray sky, which was moonless, starless, and decidedly clouded.
“I brought someone who can help you,” I said. “You may think things are pretty hopeless how, but wait till you talk to her.” Anne-Marie later told me I hadn’t phrased that particularly well.
Again, Jane said nothing. Anne-Marie suddenly hopped up on the windowsill and swung her legs outside. “I’ll take it from here,” she said. Noticing my surprise, she added, “These things have to be handled face to face. She won’t be able to relate to me if I’m tucked away safe and secure inside. But if we’re standing together on the brink of death, we’ll be equals.”
“Isn’t that kind of dangerous?”
She shook her head. “Not really. You see, Todd, unstable people are highly suggestible. You can talk them into anything. In this case, I hope to talk one of them into the library. It shouldn’t take long.” She slapped her palm against the concrete ledge. “And see how wide this thing is? A good foot and a half. No danger of falling. Oh, I almost forgot. Get me a copy of ‘The Bell Jar.'”
I found the book and gave it to her, and then watched as Anne-Marie, still sitting down, scooted crablike on her butt down the ledge. She stopped, then two feet short of Jane, probably to avoid encroaching on her solitude too quickly. I leaned out the window and listened as Anne-Marie began conversing with her death-wishy poet-in-arms.
“Had a rough go of it lately, huh? Well, believe me, I know how that can be. My name is Anne-Marie, and you’re Jane, right? Nice to meet you, Jane. Though I guess the circumstances could’ve been better. I hear you’re a writer. I am too…”
Beautiful, I thought. Just like in the movies. Anne-Marie’s tone was sincere, friendly and conversational, and although Jane hadn’t spoken yet, I figured it would be only a matter of minutes before she was won over by Anne-Marie’s vulnerable charm.
I wanted to listen some more, but I felt very uncomfortable eavesdropping that way the windowsill was digging into my stomach. I went and sat down at one of the long study tables and bided my time. At any moment I expected to see Anne-Marie crawling back in with Jane Stuckey, having seen the error of her ways, following close behind. When neither appeared after ten minutes, I peeked out to check on Anne-Marie’s progress.
She saw me and crabbed back down to the window. “I haven’t made any inroads yet,” she whispered. “She hasn’t said a word, hasn’t even moved a muscle. It’s like she’s catatonic. But that doesn’t mean I’m not getting through to her. Catatonic people can still hear. I know I could when I was.”
“Maybe you should come back inside,” I said. “We can call the police. Or Dr. Trask.”
“We don’t need the police,” she answered coldly. “And we don’t need a psychiatrist. I can pull this one out myself.”
She scooted toward Jane again, up to the ten-foot line of psychological demarcation. “I know what it’s like, Jane, really I do.” I heard her say, “We’re sisters of the soul, you and I. We’re poets and we’re special. It’s true the world doesn’t understand us, but that’s nothing to die about. Is it so bad to be misunderstood? Please say something, Jane.”
Jane said not a word. Her stony profile didn’t even flinch.
“Right now you’re feeling depressed, but believe it or not, tomorrow is another day. Fiddle-dee-dee, as Scarlett O’Hara said. Ha! But seriously, Jane. I know it sounds corny, but things will look brighter in the morning. They always do.”
“Well, okay, it’s a nice night,” said Anne-Marie. “We don’t have to talk. Let’s just sit quietly and enjoy the fresh air.”
Evidently, Anne-Marie was hoping that the awkward silence would prompt some conversation from Jane. But five minutes of silence became ten minutes, then fifteen.
Anne-Marie signed. “I get depressed too. You think you’re the only one? And you’re not the only one who’s tried suicide either. I could write a book. But I’m still here, aren’t I? And I’m happy. Well, maybe not happy, but I’m reasonably content with my place in the world, which is probably about all that people like you and me can hope for.”
“The bottom line is that things can be worked out. Nothing is worth dying for. Look inside your heart and see if you don’t agree with me.”
“Life can be beautiful if you’ll give it a chance. The world can be a happy place. Will you talk to me, for cripe’s sake!”
“Jane, listen to me. You probably don’t want to hear advice from someone else. No. But I wouldn’t be telling you if I hadn’t been there myself. It’s alright, it’s alright, sometimes that’s what it takes. You’re only human, you’re supposed to make mistakes.”
My God! I thought. She’s quoting Billy Joel!
“Hey, Anne-Marie,” I called.
She spun her head around. “What!” she snarled.
Her tone made me do an involuntary backstep. “Why don’t you come back in? Let’s call somebody.”
“Hey, bud,” she said, jabbing her finger in my direction, “I started this and I’m gonna finish it. Get back inside and stop hanging your face out here. Go read a book. If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” She preceded the word “kitchen” with an adjective suggesting that the kitchen sometimes engaged in sex.
I got back inside and stopped hanging my face out there. It was apparent that this was going to take longer than we thought. Maybe it was best that I didn’t try to interfere; Anne-Marie was the expert, if indeed there was such a thing as expertise in handling these situations. I decided to take her advice and read a book.
This corner of the library was not too familiar to me. This was where Literature slept. I browsed up and down the aisles. Keats was here, and Browning, and Byron. Poe, Carroll, Hemingway, St. Vincent Millay, the Brontes. And Plath, naturally. They were all here. These were the people who couldn’t take the world in stride, who were cursed with eyes that saw everything, who laid themselves open like raw nerves to all life had to offer. They drank themselves dry of ideas and died too young. I’d stumbled upon their secret meeting place, where despair billowed like Houdini’s ghost. It wasn’t hard to see how someone of delicate sensibilities – Jane Stuckey came to mind – could be moved to thoughts of self-destruction after countless hours with these books, and countless other hours at the typewriter trying to copy their pathos. I began to understand that Anne-Marie had quite a job ahead of her, and I hoped she was up to the task. Maybe a few more well-chosen words would do the trick. As she’d said, an unstable person could be talked into anything.
I turned and saw Anne-Marie’s head poked in the window.
“We’re jumping, Todd,” she said.
“We’re stepping out. Jane’s right. Life isn’t worth it.”
“What did she say to you?”
“Nothing. She didn’t have to. She speaks volumes with her silence.” She paused. “I want you to do something for me. Burn all my manuscripts, okay?” There’s a whole milk crate full of papers in my room. Stories, plays, even an unfinished novel. Put a match to the whole lot.”
“Of course, when I say burn it, what I really mean is that you should send it off to some publisher and make me posthumously famous. But it’ll look good in my bio if my last wish was to have all my stuff destroyed. It worked for Kafka.”
“Wait. Please, let’s talk.”
“Nothing to say. Bye, Todd.”
She disappeared from the window. I made a lunge for her, but she was out of reach, scooting down the ledge toward her new best friend.
“Jane, stop her!” I shouted. “I’ll publish your poems! Please, you guys! Don’t jump!”
In the next thirty seconds, things happened incredibly fast; so fast that only later was I able to piece them together into some semblance of order. I think I began to crawl out onto the ledge. I hope I did, though chivalry has never been my strong suit. I saw Anne-Marie stand up and sidle over next to Jane, and I heard her say, “Take my hand, we’ll go together.” Then there was a moment’s pause, during which I assume Anne-Marie reached for Jane’s hand. Then came the scream. Later, Anne-Marie told me she thought she’d only screamed to herself, in her own head. But no, it was a real yowser. Porch lights flicked on up and down the street. Anne-Marie, staring into Jane’s face, screamed again, and then crumpled like a rag doll. She dropped off the ledge and landed in a thick clump of Russian olive bushes. It was a soft landing; a pole vaulter plopping onto an air-filled mattress couldn’t have hoped for a gentler conclusion.
The front of the library, thanks to the lights across the street, was now as bright as daylight. I looked up at Jane. I opened my mouth to scream. But what came out was screaming laughter.
Because what I saw wasn’t Jane Stuckey. What I saw was the figure of a man, his eyes brimming with wisdom and foresight as he gazed out over the rooftops. A man who epitomized progress. A man whose stony profile was just that: stone.
Anne-Marie and I had spent thirty minutes trying to rescue a statue of Otto Von Chrislip, founder of our town.
I went downstairs to where Anne-Marie lay in a dead faint in the bushes. I slapped her back to consciousness, which was fun. Anne-Marie is one of those people whose sense of humor plays hide and seek just when they need it most. She picked up a stone and took aim at Otto, threw, missed, and smashed the ornate stained glass window over his head to smithereens. I thought that funny, too. She didn’t.
We drove back to Launder-Boy; I had forgotten my clothes. Anne-Marie was quiet, as she always is after hanging around the library. I wasn’t worried about her latest suicide attempt. Suicide is not a big industry in Chrislip. It might’ve cheered her up had I reminded her that she’d been right about at least one thing: that unstable people are suggestible and that you can talk them into anything. She was living proof of that. A statue had talked her into trying to commit suicide.
We found out later that Jane Stuckey had left Launder-Boy and caught the first bus to Detroit. So I guess the manager of the laundromat was right. “Land of emptiness and gloom” wasn’t a metaphor for death after all. She’ll be back.
But a promise is a promise. I told the statue of Otto Von Chrislip that I would publish Jane’s poems, and I have done so. They’re in this issue. Read them in good health and try not to explode.
Hey, Let’s Stop Hating
By Jane Stuckey
In Mobile a black man hangs from a tree,
they called him a “nigger,” but he’s like you and me.
Hey, let’s stop hating…
In Ireland a Protestant throws a rock,
he’s trying to knock off some Catholic’s block.
Hey, let’s stop hating…
In China a man is thrown into prison
simply for saying “Christ has risen!”
Hey, let’s stop hating…
An Arab carries a bomb on a plane
and Jews tumble down from the sky just like rain
Hey, let’s stop hating…
I wonder when it will ever sink in
that all men are brothers under the skin.
Hey, let’s stop hating…
Red and yellow, white and brown
we have to turn this world around.
Hey, let’s stop hating…
The time has come to do what’s right,
to stand and say with all our might,
Hey, let’s stop hating.
Weep For The Animals
By Jane Stuckey
I was in a dewy meadow one day,
in the month of June, or maybe May.
The majestic sun rose in the sky
breathing out fire like a dragon’s cry.
I’d just finished eating a picnic lunch,
I was really full, boy did I eat a bunch!
I was walking for exercise so I wouldn’t get fat,
I was wearing a hat.
Suddenly a bird landed on my shoulder,
it was just a baby, but it looked wiser and older.
He laid his sleepy head close to mine,
and you know what? I could read his mind!
He said, “You and I are alike, so to speak,
tho’ I dance on the wind and eat with my beak.
But the two of us share an assortment of things,
too many to count on our fingers or wings.
“We both live here on planet Earth,
we laugh and cry and love and give birth,
so why would you want to disturb the calm,
oh why does your species build nuclear bombs?”
I said, “Please, bluebird, do not weep,
your question’s touched my heart so deep.
My species has a lot to learn,
but we don’t want the world to burn.”
Then all at once he left my shoulder,
now I was the one who felt wiser and older.
For now I knew that if the bombs fell
not even the animals would live to tell.
Oh, bluebird, we will do our best
to make this world as cozy as your nest,
and to honor your words as you flew away:
“Get rid of nuclear weapons…TODAY!!!”