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Spring 2006 Edition
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Author: Rachel Diem
Age: 51
Location: Michigan

Rachel Diem is in the middle of a lifelong, sometimes painful love affair with the American Midwest, the rest of her country, and the world.



hell enough

What volcano or wildfire, what
nightmare of scorch and scream
branded us with this tribal lust
for hell? I want to ask Goethe,
Oppenheimer, I want to ask Faust himself –
Aren't you done yet? Still in love?
Still looking for your angry fix?

A god who wages war
against the just –
or the guilty –
is a mistake.
A god who wagers with a patriarch
could be an outright lie, or
a shattered memory of a
surviving witness –
and anyway, Abraham:
why gamble on righteous men?
innocent children are a sure thing –

At least give me this lie instead: a god
who screams in anguish
when the children of Sodom burn,
a god who crouches in the ashes
and broken stones, gasping
“a wall of flame –
fire pouring from the sky –
one of them ran, her clothes burned off –
I saw her” – I want to find that god, and
kneel with her in the ashes,
but she's another lie; she turns on me
accusing – “haven't you had enough?
Stop pretending you talk to gods!” – but pleading
“Guernica Nagasaki
Fallujah so many others
you don’t have to stretch
your mind to name –

make it stop” –



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