“Somewhere in the World,” by Linda Pastan, appeared in the Fall 2007 issue of MQR.
Somewhere in the world
something is happening
which will make its slow way here.
A cold front will come to destroy
the camellias, or perhaps it will be
a heat wave to scorch them.
A virus will move without passport
or papers to find me as I shake
a hand or kiss a cheek.
Somewhere a small quarrel
has begun, a few overheated words
ignite a conflagration,
and the smell of smoke
is on its way;
the smell of war.
Wherever I go I knock on wood—
on tabletops or tree trunks.
I rinse my hands over and over again.
I scan the newspapers
and invent alarm codes which are not
my husband’s birth date or my own.
But somewhere something is happening
against which there is no planning, only
those two aging conspirators, Hope and Luck.
Image: Drewes, Werner. “Storm Cloud.” 1977. Color woodcut on paper. Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington, D.C.