of the Millennium
He’s five months old now—a little short
on experience—but if he could speak,
Jake would sit with the Dalai Lama on a red
and golden throne and hold forth on happiness
and compassion on freeing the mind from vengeance
and regret and living in exile from the sacred
he’s seen the end of days . . . and the beginning.
He doesn’t know about race or gender
or that we are murdering the planet
that the earth
is smoldering with underground fires and with the bone-
fires of hatred He
doesn’t know about ethnicity
or religion and will not take with him into
the new century
memories of calcined corpses or an interior landscape
peopled with napalmed children.
What Jake is best at has nothing to do with genocide
or the acid tides of history
He travels in realms
where tenderness is a face that brushes his face
He feels the strength of those around him and
and time ticks at his wrist like the gentlest rain
are the most translucent lakes, his smiles tiny suns
that shine a clear light on the living.
1999 by Charles Fishman. Used with permission
of Charles Fishman.