Innocence

By Carl Auerbach

 

Onion soup and coffee and cassava—
breakfast in Butare—as the morning sun
saunters across the complicit sky,

leaving only the amputee beggar woman,
scurrying along the road on knees and elbows
to remind the morning of the night.

Opposite me, a young Dutch couple
wearing matching T-shirts proclaiming peace and love,
and matching healthy glows. They’ve read Kerouac’s

On the Road in Dutch, and are living out
their translation of the text, backpacking
through Africa, sleeping by the road

in parks and forests, one last moment of freedom
before taking on adult responsibilities.
The morning TV news reports last night’s flare-up

of armed conflict at the border
which they treat as an interesting fact
not important information. It was like watching

a small pink rubber ball bouncing
onto a trafficked street followed by
a small boy with a goofy smile and waiting

in frozen fascination, for the inevitable.

Carl Auerbach lives in New York City, where he practices psychotherapy.  With four grown children, he is pursuing poetry. Carl has had three poems and a short story nominated for a Pushcart Prize.  His work has appeared or is forthcoming in The Baltimore Review, Bayou Magazine, Blue Lake Review, Brink Magazine, Chrysalis Reader, Colere, Confluence, descant, The Distillery, Eclipse, Eleven Eleven, Euphony, Evansville Review, Forge, Freshwater, The Green Hills Literary Lantern, The Griffin, G.W. Review, Hawaii Pacific Review, Licking River Review, Louisville Review, The MacGuffin, The Minetta Review, Nimrod International Journal, North American Review, Oregon East, Passager, Pearl, Permafrost, Poem, RE:AL, Red Wheelbarrow Literary Magazine, Sanskrit, Schuylkill Valley Journal Of The Arts, The South Carolina Review, Spillway, Talking River, The Texas Review, Third Coast, and Westview



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