Not Another Anthem

As soon as I step into the tunnel that will take me under the river I need to
cross to get to the city my brain shuts down.  No signal gets through and the
question remains how do I know?
 
With a brain well emptied, and a head a vacuum of nothing,
everything I’ve ever known goes quietly absent.  As still and
as quiet as a house abandoned or a mouth wide open in a painting.
 
As soon as I step out of the tunnel scientists squabble about when
we should abandon the earth for some other place.  I duck straight back
into the tunnel in order to disrupt the signal.
 
In the tunnel's shelter there is nothing in my head, it's empty enough
For the origins of the universe to begin.  A frightening thing
interrupted by my backing back out of the tunnel just in time.
 
In the light of day what's on my mind turns out to be your lifespan.
Next to the tunnel is the only safe place to be.  It is the only place
where it's certain I’ll not all day not need to be crying and weeping to go on.
 
Which draws me directly back into the tunnel
to interrupt the signal.
It takes a little while for my mind to stop trembling.

Dara Wier, "Not Another Anthem." Copyright © 2016 by Dara Wier. Used by permission of the author for PoetryNow, a partnership between the Poetry Foundation and the WFMT Radio Network.
Source: PoetryNow (2016)