At the United Mine Workers Monument to the Victims of the Ludlow Massacre, Ludlow, Colorado by John Surowiecki


It looks like any war monument in any U.S. town
except it doesn’t commemorate a war and it’s in
the middle of nowhere and into its stone are carved
the names of children. The meadows surrounding it
look like backyards without houses attached to them:
then a fog comes in and covers the mamas del mundo
as if out of modesty. Nothing here asks you to hear the shots
or the screams or watch the air get ripped open revealing
a second sulfurous air inside. The air is just air, the woods
are just woods. The clouds that move across the sky
aren’t unfamiliar. We understand how the earth absorbs.
We know what the wind is.

John Surowiecki‘s fourth book, Flies, was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2013. His other three are Barney and Gienka (CW Books, 2010), The Hat City after Men Stopped Wearing Hats (Washington Prize, Word Works, 2007) and Watching Cartoons before Attending a Funeral (White Pine Prize, White Pine Press, 2003). He’s also had six chapbooks published. In addition, his work also appeared in Sunken Garden Poetry Festival Twentieth Anniversary Anthology (Wesleyan University Press) and the Hecht Prize Anthology (Waywiser Press). Recently he’s won the Poetry Foundation Pegasus Award for verse drama and the Nimrod Pablo Neruda Prize and took the silver in the Sunken Garden National Competition. Publications include: Alaska Quarterly Review, Antietam Review, Carolina Review, Columbia Review, Gargoyle, Indiana Review, Margie, Nimrod, North American Review, Mississippi Review, Poetry, Prairie Schooner, Redivider, Rhino, The Southern Review and West Branch.