Joseph Arechavala

Joseph Arechavala is born and bred in New Jersey, leading a boring, humdrum life and commenting as best his feeble skills allow. A high functioning autistic, he is the father of two grown sons and has been married for 35 years to a quite patient, loving woman. He has had poems and stories published online and in print, and published a novel, Darkness Persists.

Somewhere

 

There’s a dictatorship

a brutal, murderous dictatorship

 

Somewhere

 

(Does it matter where?)

 

Where orphaned children cry

in rubble-filled streets

 

Where the screams can be heard

almost every night –

hot nights, cold nights –

followed by shots – it doesn’t

sound like the movies, you know –

no echoes of bullets, only echoes

of screams

 

What to do when they come?

Scrape and bow and chuckle nervously?

Fight only to be dragged away?

 

Fear, historically, has always been an

effective device for control, the smooth sultry

voice of control

 

The room, dark, bare, the only

reflection from the lone bulb the

sweat on his brow

 

somewhere

 

people walk down a city street

verdant trees and crowded cafes smelling of mocha

Oblivious

 

Somewhere

In August

In August

families picnicked on Bavarian hillsides
French girls teased French boys
butterflies laid their eggs before dying
rifles were cleaned by nervous soldiers
dogs barked in deserted evening streets
blackout shades were purchased with
grim faces

In August

cows and pigs were bled after slaughter
English children went swimming in
the Channel, English mothers eyeing
warships’ smoke in the distance
birds sang a late summer song before
flying south, ants labored to store food
Poles looked over their shoulders as
Germans languished in
the camps

In August

dolphins raced before destroyers
chickens hatched and mothers gave birth
with agonized cries, shells were piled
high by sweaty men in undershirts
harvest wheat was separated from the chaff
engines were greased, bolts tightened and
boots polished

In August

innocence took
a struggling,
gasping
breath,
and hope
withered