Barbara Henning, Selfie Photo on 11-1-20 at 4.44 PM
Here We Are
Off to the stationery store on Avenue A
to buy paper and metal bookends.
At least 58 people died in Europe
this week in a brutal cold wave,
plunging temperatures to 17 degrees
below zero. When I step inside,
I’m suddenly phlegmy and coughing.
Blood starts pouring out of my
left nostril. A funny old woman
hidden inside a blue hooded coat
darts out the door. Republicans
point at the millions of immigrant
workers pouring into the country.
Then I look in the mirror and see
a funny looking old woman
with her head wrapped
like a mummy and a tissue stuck
in her nose. King Tut’s mummy
was recently removed from
the sarcophagus, and placed
in a climate-controlled box
to be displayed at a museum in Luxor.
My husband often had a bloody nose.
Maybe we’ll find each other
in another life. When I think of
losing my children, I feel my body
crack into pieces. China’s cracking
down on subversive meditating
disciples of the Dalai Lama.
Be thankful for now, Barbara.
Today. This minute. Here we are.
Barbara Henning is the author of four novels and eight collections of poetry, most recently a collection of poems, Digigram (United Artists Books 2020) and a novel, Just Like That (Spuyten Duyvil, 2016). She is also the editor of Prompt Book: Experiments for Writing Poetry and Fiction (Spuyten Duyvil 2021), as well as The Selected Prose of Bobbie Louise Hawkins (BV) and Looking Up Harryette Mullen (Belladonna). She is Professor Emeritus at Long Island University in Brooklyn. [“Here We Are” from A Day Like Today (Negative Capability Press, 2015) is used by permission; © 2021 by Barbara Henning.]
In this Nov. 4, 2007 file photo, Egypt’s antiquities chief Dr. Zahi Hawass, center, supervises the removal of the mummy of King Tutankhamun from his stone sarcophagus in his underground tomb in the famed Valley of the Kings in Luxor, Egypt. © REUTERS / Ben Curtis