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Of Course We Knew
Ally Malinenko
Writer of the Month

Photo by  Claire Anderson  on  Unsplash

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
and absorbed
the damage and pain
lit up like torches
glowing inside us
a rocket ship
catapulting us
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.