A.M. Juster: ‘The Invasion of Iceland’, ‘Consolations for Putin’ and ‘Rilkean Checklist’

The Invasion of Iceland

Volcanic rock,
pitted by wind
and scorched by sun,
bequeathed a veil
of grit as still
as lunar plains,
but wholly black.

Lupines collected
from Alaska
thrived and spread
their seeds; it led
to lavender
further and faster
than expected.

While most agree
this land, now kinder,
should be more praised,
some holdouts raised
on ash still miss
that stark reminder
of what will be.

A.M. Juster

Consolations for Putin

This would be easier
if you had taken up smoking
because so many smokers
trip in the act and defenestrate
from high-rise buildings,
but it is too late for that.

There are no cliffs
near your suburban Moscow estate,
and yachts of oligarchs
are being seized all over the world,
so falls from decks or rocks
are impractical at this point.

The more artful deaths
require too many conspirators
who might turn,
so a botched shamanic healing session
or suffocation on the way to lunch
is out of the question.

Your own decision rules,
of course, compel the proper answer:
although accessing Novichok
might draw inconvenient inquiries,
there is aconite and arsenic—
and we haven’t gotten to the b’s.

The key is that there is no way
to save yourself by embracing
Rilke’s “You must change your life”;
You must rely on others everywhere
to eat, drink, and yes, like poor Navalny,
put on underwear.

A.M. Juster

Rilkean Checklist

Jettison the life you led.
Stare down demons that you dread.
Find graves; come clean with your dead.
Never leave love left unsaid;
rapture could be just ahead.

A.M. Juster

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