Heaven Was Elsewhere

by Stuart Dischell

The cities were anonymous
The problems generic
And the people who lived
Out their lives did nothing
Remarkable. Most were
Afraid. They ate and drank.
They had babies or avoided them.
They prayed and kissed and sometimes forgot
Each other in the dark.
They did the basic human thing.
Knowing they would die
Following the leader
While cursing their wages.
(But once you and I did
Something specific, and a couple
Of people saw us later on the street.)

STUART DISCHELL is the author of Good Hope Road, a National Poetry Series Selection, Evenings & AvenuesDig SafeBackwards Days and Children With Enemies and the pamphlets Animate Earth and Touch Monkey and the chapbook Standing on Z. His poems have appeared in The AtlanticAgniThe New Republic, SlateKenyon ReviewPloughshares, and anthologies including Essential PoemsHammer and BlazePushcart Prize, and Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems. A recipient of awards from the NEA, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, he teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.