Volume 24, Number 3

Times Two

I was two when Khrushchev blinked. Just two,
like the on / off click of a phantom switch
in the deep of night as a timeline splits
decision: do the missiles move

from their island roost, or does a moon
too blue to be believed bewitch
those men behind the scenes who sit
with Clausewitz yet to be disproved,

& all of history to flip
from a child adrift in a dream-tossed bed
to the silhouette of a small bright death
along some timeline come unzipped

in another October of ’62
where no one blinked. When the missiles flew.

—Ann K. Schwader