History Will Remember

By David O’Connell

Featured Art: Showers by Louis Auguste Lepère, 1890

maybe not today, but this July,
surely, the way the city wakes up
to brunch, the café windows

thrown open to foot traffic.
It rained overnight. But now sun.
Or if not this July, certainly the skyline,

the bar graph of midtown, the Empire
State Building, the Chrysler, all that was
accomplished. And that we were?

Not we, as in you and me,
but we all? Impossible
that the record could be garbled

beyond translation. Centuries on,
careers will be made retelling
what’s . . . sorry, a cabbie’s honking

at a bike messenger, and the newsstand
on the corner’s glossy with everything
you’d ever need to know

about red carpet nip slips, double
truffle burgers, how soon the West
Antarctic ice sheet’s likely to collapse.

I’ve got weekend plans. My wife’s
friend’s rented a place in the Hamptons
we could never afford. She doesn’t buy

she says, because it’ll be under water
in a decade. I’m hoping, like last year,
for clear nights. We’re crossing through

the Perseids, that annual shower
of meteors: traces of a comet’s tail
that flared some time ago.


David O’Connell’s work has appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Copper Nickel, Sugar House, and North American Review, among other journals. His first full-length collection, Our Best Defense, is forthcoming in 2021 from Červená Barva Press. More of his work can be found at davidoconnellpoet.com.

Originally appeared in NOR 20.

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