if there were

Published in the Winter ’17 issue of The Oddville Review

by Kurt Baumeister

 

I remember being five or four or three

Asking my mother if there was a Hell

And if I was going. I never got

A good answer. Never got

The one I needed. Though I know

She gave me the one I wanted.

 

I remember dreaming about nuclear war

Running and hiding in my mind’s eye

Knowing the world was about to end

Two days two minutes two ticks

To midnight. Hoping it wouldn’t

Still thinking maybe there was a chance.

 

To be a child was to cry and be confused

To laugh little, to dream of other lives

That might have been better still

To be a man is to put away the child

To know that Hell and nuclear war

Are only as real as we make them.

 

But you will never stop asking your mother

For the answers. Even after you realize,

She never had them, and she never could.

Still you will call, “Mom?” long after

She is gone. Still you will wonder about Hell

And nuclear war.

 

http://oddvillepress.com/pdf/The-Oddville-Press-Winter-2017.pdf

 

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