Two Poems

By Jed Myers

After the Missile Strike on the Train Station in Kramatorsk  

I try to imagine the instant                         
rupture of steel concrete flesh,
crowd on a platform in a distant 
town I can’t pronounce—how is it
this sets loose a memory? I’ve never been 
shockwaved deaf, blast-snapped a bone, 
bled out on the ground or inside.

In my click-window, the row of black
bags. No more of those lives. Still, 

I’m four or five, my mother 
and Aunt Reba either side of me under 
the highest ceiling ever in the vastest 
room in the world. They each hold 
one of my hands, tug me along
in a hurry to board. A great voice echoes 
our platform number. 

Pain Syndrome  

You can open an account in a shoulder
or hip, in one side of your neck, 
or sure, your low back—but you won’t know

till it’s chosen. Then, it’s just a matter
of making deposits, which you can deduct
from what you owe the world. Look,

it’s a pretty good deal. There’s a tear
in your cartilage, tendon, ligament, maybe 
the spine’s slow collapse crushes a nerve—

you send checks to that address, compounding 
your bitter riches, as if to thicken 
your inland sea’s sediment floor 

with that grit of breakdown, failure’s bone-
powder, holdings come to far greater than
any specialist’s arthroscope can 

explore. Then let the instruments poke
into your hurt’s glowing red
star of a joint capsule. Take whatever

rays they focus to audit that fissure
filled with your pain’s layered ore. They might 
gain purchase by increments, but never see

all you’ve accrued. And the bell rings
closing your day while it’s still bright 
as a morning in childhood. It’s been a fight, 

a war, and you didn’t start it. You had to
strain against gravity. Your nature made you
haul that child, elder, loved one

or stranger, over the dry hills
and through the mud valley, remember?
It was the world that tore you.

Photo by Trevor Bobyk