As of now, the hanging fruit basket is full.
I see it. By the end of this poem, it will be empty.
We have made The Big Mistake. Consequently, you,
dear reader, can infer the passage of time.
But it’s much slower than you might think. Five minutes? Two?  

Anyway, We hope China will sit it out.
The President made a statement and then boarded a plane.
The Supreme Court is weighing in. My suitcase is still upright
near the front door. Sour air of absence. No one has lived here
in ages. The Speaker of the House is livestreaming from Austin.  

Getting back to the scene now: Hanging basket in the corner
of the dining room off the kitchen in a small ranch house.
They say the missiles are coming. It’s the early afternoon,
way before anyone should be home from the world.
But everyone is probably home, or on the way. We’ve all heard.  

Most of the news says it’s happening, but some still say: no
it won’t happen, who would do that? The fruit basket is still;
the fruit ripening. Just a hint of the sun threatening
to prepare to set. The President has disappeared.
We didn’t think that we would have to do this.  

We probably didn’t have to, but we seem to have done it. 
Somewhere in the American Midwest. Where things often threaten
to act before they actually do. Kiss of light along the kitchen table.
Moscow has made a statement, has committed. Long streak of light
on the polished wood says the sun is slanting now, slightly drowsy.  

Something happened in Poland and then another thing in London,
followed by a thing in New York. Here in my mother’s house
in far off Kansas, I am just standing in the kitchen hoping for nothing.
Seemed once, like a good bet. Nothing ever happened when I grew up.
No one has any business out here on the far-as-the-eye-can-see earth.  

Open sky, open land: claustrophobic. Impenetrable earth
beneath the schizophrenic sky. Though I have not been back
in decades, I recall, when I was a kid, the feeling of being squished.
Two planes. Sound familiar? And now this thing in Tokyo. I see the two
planes twice when I look out the window over the sink.  

The land/sky plane marking a sandwiched disbelief and in the actual sky:
the hurried craquelure trail of an F-22 out of Mcconnell AFB and way,
way beneath that a Grumman Ag Cat, white with red racing stripes,
spraying wild, inarticulate loops over the sorghum fields to the northwest.
Beijing made a statement. China is not sitting it out. It’s happening.  

As I stand here, watching the unsettling motion of a plane
between the motionless planes, in the vertigo of being panicked and safe
all at once, I turn on the water. Standing at this sink reminds me of losing
teeth, rinsing with saltwater, spitting. This same window-view. Perpetual
plainland where sits the house, and where hangs the fruit basket,  

and where used to live my mother. No water comes out of the faucet.
Quietly. Feeling now further removed from the most removed place
I can imagine. Silently become silent. Xanax won’t fix this.
The earth moves without moving while moving me.
The sun is now, like actually, starting to set.