April 6, 2022 by Gary Metras

April 6, 2022

In dream, I am extracting bodies
from the rubble of bombed buildings.
There are many of us under this
granite sky and charred chunks of concrete.
Here and there, torn lace curtains,
broken teacups, an odd shoe. No one
speaks. We find a body and drag
or carry it to the middle of what
was a street. Bodies lined up.
Others check their pockets for IDs,
photograph them if they have
facial features someone may recognize,
then bag them in plastic so black
light could not shine on the remains
for a thousand years. No one speaks.
After a few days, no one cries,
no one feels. We are as numb as a tree
as we bend and lift and grunt.
In each heart, a hope that there
will be a body, no matter how broken,
that breathes. When another signals me,
I go to help him drag one more body
and he points to its face. I look
at it, then at him standing like a tree
with drooping limbs. There, on the
ground, is a body with my face.


Gary Metras is the author of eight books of poetry and thirteen chapbooks. His new book is Vanishing Points (Dos Madres Press, 2021). His poems have appeared in such journals as America, The Common, One Art, Poetry, Poetry East, and Poetry Salzburg Review. A retired educator, he fly fishes his home waters in western Massachusetts as often as possible.

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At The Nursing Home by Gary Metras

At The Nursing Home

She visits you every day,
says she is your daughter.
You nod, politely,

wishing she’d leave
before she tells more stories
of people you don’t know.

Your memories are
tissues crumpled
in a wastebasket.

The bird at the window
is your youngest
born in a snowstorm.

Photos on the mantel
around you close like doors
that never open again.


Gary Metras’s new book of poetry is River Voice II (Adastra Press, 2020). Other recent books are Captive in the Here (Cervena Barva Press, Dec. 2018) and White Storm (Presa Press, Feb. 2018). His poems have been in recent issues of Poetry East, Ibbetson Street, and Main Street Rag. He is the inaugural poet laureate of the City of Easthampton, Massachusetts as of April 2018. Besides poetry, fly-fishing and tying flies are his passion.