Shades of Twenty-Twenty vision
lie beneath abandoned cities
packed with disregarded lessons
of the centuries before.
Finally the veil has lifted,
there’s a purpose in tomorrow
and the memories are fading
from the year that brought the war.
Looking forward to commencement,
parties, proms, and lazy summer
leading into jobs or college,
we were only seventeen.
Some of us were undecided,
some had mapped a certain future
in the pattern of their parents.
Others saw behind the screen.
Since we entered kindergarten
we’d been tested, used, and herded
for political agendas
on the nation’s shrinking stage
so it wasn’t unexpected
when democracy imploded
in a world already reeling
from the chaos of the age.
Virus after virus followed,
claiming half the population.
News from other countries filtered
slowly through the riot zone
’til the power grid was severed.
While democracy imploded
we were scrabbling for survival.
Now we live on wits alone.
Here I stand, the single remnant
from a family of seven,
flanked by unified companions
whose intention can increase
coexistence with the planet.
Taking only what is needed,
with the help of one another
we will make a lasting peace.
2020 Mary Boren
“It took virtually everything I owned, and showed me the folly of placing value on things of this world.” -Charles Boren
“Get up and grab your clothes!” No time for “Why?”;
no second chance to act, the life he knew
upended in a blink. With gaping eye,
the howling monster spiraled into view.
They fled by car, then watched it from a bridge.
Like flocks of birds, the pulverized debris
of pavement from their block took flight, the ridge
of dwellings devastated instantly.
And in its aftermath, the storm exposed
unyielding walls between them. Slab and slate
wiped clean, he left, she stayed — their history hosed
like muddy footprints out a garden gate.
The bedrock of a home once shared with her,
he counts among the things that never were.
Mary Boren, 2007
Aftermath of the 1997 Jarrell Tornado – The Most Intense Tornado Damage Ever Photographed
In truth, I wasn’t looking when you fanned
the cards (nor did I count them, I confess).
Initially I held the better hand
but yours was played with preconceived finesse.
Oblivious to what was being dealt,
I met your gaze and honestly believed
in what I thought I saw and what I felt.
You never blinked; just played the ace you’d sleeved.
No use in looking back on burning trumps
or bridges. Though, of course, I’d never choose
to play if I had known, guess only chumps
keep staking what they can’t afford to lose.
I’m beaten. Mine’s the sorrow; yours the shame.
One’s leap of faith is just another’s game.
Mary Boren, 2003
While watching you, asleep, soul-sinking thoughts
flood to the fore on rising waves of doubt.
How can I brave tomorrow’s chill without
your touch, your footsteps, and those million watts
of magic in your smile? My heart allots
itself a single, stifled whisper. “No!”
I have no voice, no choice. I must let go
midst whirlpools of what-ifs and what-if-nots.
For you were bound to someone else in strands
of interwoven loyalty before
we ever met. My love for you demands
your leaving will not rip me to the core.
I stroke your little baby grandchild hands
to waken you; your mother’s at the door.
Mary Boren, 2002