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A Meditation on Ecclesiastes
by Steven Schroeder

they are afraid also of what is high, and terrors are in the way...
the grasshopper drags itself along and desire fails
-Ecclesiastes 12:5

These days, terror
is color-coded, and the air
in this terminal is orange after
the hundredth repetition
of the latest alert diffracted
through the prism
of homeland security
without a key.
                        Harried passengers
breathe orange until it saturates them
as it saturates the atmosphere
of the whole planet. Air
is so heavy with fear
even grasshoppers
drag themselves to work
on tomatoes guarded
by lonely gardeners
who breathe the same
orange stuff that saturates
the terminal while they contemplate
preemptive strikes against hordes
of locusts burdened with fear
orange as the orange air.
They will settle in the end
for massive retaliation, nothing new
in fields of tomatoes between
red and yellow half consumed
under full sun between green
velvet leaves and dry red earth.

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