Impromptu poem 8 (Found Poetry Review)

Harold Abramowitz suggested this prompt: “Write something you cannot remember: a memory of something – a story, an anecdote, a song, another poem, a recipe, an episode of a television program, anything, that you only partially or imperfectly remember. Write multiple versions, at least 6, of this memory.”

What came to me were distinct ‘verses,’ using the syllable discipline of the tanka form and relating to the same TV broadcast, parts of which I remember, though not all of it.

Reflections: “On the Beach”

                                                     (after Nevil Shute’s novel and subsequent films)

Black and white flicker:
men, women, well-dressed,
standing on Florida sand.
They face west, the ‘mushroom’ cloud,
armageddon, now upon them.

*

Unwilling witness,
my eleven year-old self
watches the action;
cannot tear myself away
from panic or acceptance.

*

Services all off,
a woman on insulin
sees her future
without electricity:
A two days’ supply of life.

*

What happened to them,
the characters in that play?
I do not recall.
It could not end well for them
as their world, their lives collapse.

*

I’ve walked that shore since,
never thinking of the outcome,
of their hopelessness,
but I’ve shuddered in my dreams
at how being trapped would feel.

*

What I can’t forget:
The anguish of no way out;
scavenging, begging;
my survival unlikely;
desperation palpable.

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