The Sunday paper came just now.
by Max Reif
I dove right past the thick, black headlines
in a frenzied quest for the Book Section,
shrinking year by year and hidden
so far inside the folded mass, it can take
a couple passes to find it.
I prefer to encounter my world
as it appears when packaged
Instead of bloody battlefields,
maybe some anecdotal
survey of the history of war, or armaments,
or even fashions in uniforms —
or something tracing
the rise and fall of empires,
bestowing a sense of pattern,
of the broad sweep of time
without the threat that time itself
will be swept out
from under all our feet.
Instead of tracts describing
the ongoing clashes between nations,
the scandals within institutions,
I like to read of short stories
about the everyday
people who make up
those nations and institutions.
Somehow, the discomfiting
disasters of the thick, black headlines,
trailing their dark clouds of smoke,
have been refined away,
siphoned off —civilized, when seen
through this lens. In my leisure,
I survey the hidden
life behind 'events', and find
it goes quite well
with a good cup of coffee.