Jeff Friedman ~ Bombs

Months ago, the bombs arrived in for­ma­tion, hov­er­ing like blimps. At first, we thought they were par­tic­i­pat­ing in a mil­i­tary exer­cise, that they would be leav­ing soon, but they remained in place, silent except for a bare­ly audi­ble buzzing that dis­rupt­ed our cell­phone sig­nals and our cable recep­tion. “You’re block­ing our sun,” we shout­ed at the bombs. “Our gar­dens are dying,” but there was no response. We threw rocks at the bombs to get them to move, but the rocks bounced off them. We launched bal­loons with mes­sages on them to no avail. We held up signs in protest and shot video footage to send to pub­lic TV. Nothing worked. The hard rain ric­o­cheted off their sur­faces. The wind didn’t faze them. And snow that land­ed on the bombs melt­ed. The bombs cast their shad­ows over us. Our town fell into despair, shops clos­ing ear­ly and some not open­ing again, build­ings board­ed up. Stoplights went dead, and we stopped dri­ving our cars, because of all the crash­es. Still, there were some who liked the bombs and thought they pro­tect­ed us from ene­my attacks, while oth­ers built new busi­ness­es for a new age of liv­ing with bombs. Undiscouraged, geese flew over the bombs, and hawks used them as van­tage points to spot their prey.

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Jeff Friedman’s sev­enth book Floating Tales—a col­lec­tion of prose poems—was recent­ly pub­lished by Plume Editions/MadHat Press. His work has appeared in American Poetry Review, Poetry, New England Review, The Antioch Review, Poetry International, and many oth­er venuesDzvinia Orlowsky’s and Friedman’s trans­la­tion of Memorials by Polish Poet Mieczslaw Jastrun was pub­lished by Lavender Ink/Dialogos in August 2014. Nati Zohar and Friedman’s book of trans­la­tions Two Gardens: Modern Hebrew Poems of the Bible, was pub­lished by Singing Bone Press in 2016. Friedman has received awards and prizes includ­ing a National Endowment Literature Translation Fellowship in 2016 and Artist Grants from New Hampshire Arts Council.