A Bombing in Assam By Gary Corseri

By Gary Corseri
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Oct. 31, 2008

You are walking along the street one day,
chewing cinnamon gum,
and the world is full of cinnamon
when there’s a fireball–
and a blast of gushing air and noise
like the Earth is cracking
and time has exploded. …

Then … silence. …

You think you’re okay, but you look down and your forearm
lies in the street like a dead snake and you collapse.

You don’t think:

“It was not immediately clear who was responsible for the blasts that went off within minutes of each other, but the region is torn by dozens of militant separatist groups that have long fought the government and one another.”

This will come within minutes from those who were far away–
cool and calm analysis, almost reassuring in its syntactic coherence.

You are suddenly cold from the loss of blood
and you wonder if you will die and you cry out
in someone else’s voice underwater.
But none of the rushing men notice.

You are twenty two and you have/had a good job–
you were earnestly trying to help.
But now you think there was no point to your life,
and you remember your mother and father
whose voices are in the sirens.

You are embarrassed to have
emptied your bowels,
and your white shirt is red and muddy,
your tie is choking you
and the men and women are running wildly but slowly.

You wonder if the gleaming metal in the street
is part of the motorcycle that sheared off your arm.

Somebody squats down, peers at your face, then rushes on.

There are many people screaming now
but you can’t know if one of them is you
because nothing sounds like it used to.

You watch the sun come down into the road
and then there is only
soughing, impregnable blackness
sucking air from your lungs.

Gary Corseri has posted/published his work at Dandelion Salad and hundreds of other venues.  His books include: A Fine Excess; Holy Grail, Holy Grail; and, Manifestations (edited).  He can be contacted at Gary_Corseri@comcast.net.