Question Time by Meena Alexander

I remember the scarred spine
Of mountains the moon slips through,
Fox fire in a stump, bushes red with blisters,
Her question, a woman in a sweatshirt,
Hand raised in a crowded room-
What use is poetry?
Above us, lights flickered,
Something wrong with the wiring.
I turned and saw the moon whirl in water,
The Rockies struck with a mauve light,
Sea creatures cut into sky foliage.
In the shadow of a shrub once you and I
Brushed lips and thighs,
Dreamt of a past that frees its prisoners.
Standing apart I looked at her and said-
We have poetry
So we do not die of history.
I had no idea what I meant.

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