Of course we knew what was at stake.
We all had that pill between our teeth
the gelatin cap
would not burst
no matter how hard we bit down
clenching and folded,
straining but it would not yield,
would not offer us the quick and easy death
we thought we deserved.
Instead we stand before the world
wringing our hands and pissing on
all the fires that burn
taking out California
and the south
the way the racists
took out Pennsylvania,
the way the map flipped that night
redder and redder
like blood spilled across this land
leaked from between our teeth
as we try and bite down
break this pill
and finally sleep.
Did you know? they ask us
messages arriving day in and day out
little notes in little bottles tossed into the ocean
littering our shores,
Did you know? they ask us.
Of course we knew
we joked about it.
We wrote opinion pieces about
gold lame draped across the White House floor,
we laughed at the nicknames
the plane hangers
the ridiculous little hat
each lie fed to us
the damage and pain
lit up like torches
glowing inside us
a rocket ship
over the moon
past the stars
dizzy in all that breathless glory
not knowing what was going to happen
we landed here
with a hard jolt
on the wrong side of history.
Ally Malinenko is the author of the poetry books The Wanting Bone, How To Be An American and Better Luck Next Year as well as the novel This Is Sarah.
It continues to snow dust.
The sun comes out of the closet.
Jays enter under the door
jumping over a line of air.
Maybe it was just the light,
cracked somewhere, leaked out,
lucky—I thought you shifted away
in voice, my mouth to hear,
My senses are a cushion, and yet this horror appears to taste my morrow. My alarms are useless because they are on fire with the rest of my home.
Be honest now—
just for a minute; I cried.
I had him locked out—
a perfectly good wish.
Privately, for over a year now you drove off and left me.
The place cooled down beaming and bright—
put my name on a silencer (it’s not the end of the world).
In the mirror, the wooden bust of Christ Nicodemus carved
and Joseph commended to the sea, stares out for reflection.
Only a true spell
of fittingly glamorous phenomena
repaired sunstruck imagination—
Too big for your body, the whale of a bed will go on sale; also the dresser, its
three-linked mirrors tall as sails.
The Nazis are back in town.
No, I know. They never, ever left.