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After “The Change”
Roger Craik

A city shattered of itself. SUVs
curve down its narrow streets at speed and on
the pavements’ crazed octagonal flags.
From his slab in the squat headquarters
cypress-shrouded in the foothills’ clearer air,
the jowly man, the peasant communist
ruling decades with a heavy telephone
is gone, and with him gone is law.
Fewer now remember him, or both.
Perhaps the old, or some of them,
in parks, on benches, doorsteps, or alone,
still do, and in thin ruefulness recall
the day when everything were as if sighed away
and they were left bewildered on familiar streets
with former names returned but strange.
Around a lily pad you see them sometimes trudge
an emptiness of afternoons, and stare upon
a world they cannot force to fit. To them
there were always the young, but not these young
bedecked in foreign characters. . . But thought exhausts.
They cannot think to think as down the car-fletched streets
to techno music’s thudding heartless beat
the shady men, the brutish men in SUVs,
swerve a past into a nothingness.