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©2018 Barren Magazine. An Alt.Lit Introspective.

Nationalism


by Frederick Pollack

You’ve solved the problem of sirens
and birds – there are fewer. Calls go to voicemail;
sleep is a holiday but dreams are work.
The vast emporia that welcome the poor,
the farms, industrial parks and far-flung
creditors are in good hands. Long-distance
truckers, whatever their usual face,
grin for the camera as they pull up
to rest-stops to unload.

And as you turn in sleep a great
light shines, its aim presumably
to catch bad men, half-rat half-fungus,
darker than dark, who both avoid
and seek it; though if they surrendered,
the dream would lose its terrors and its joy.
You know that strength means not to second-guess
yourself, as at your word rat-catchers,
whose strength is to adore you, multiply.

Yet every dream as such is meant in fun,
however awkward laughter feels by day.
Its lease is endlessly renewed, it needs
to show no profit. All roads end
at a carnival, where food is candy, love
a tunnel, happiness the length of the line
behind one. Cheerfully you take
a rifle at a shooting gallery,
and only those you kill awake.

Header photograph © Heather Wharram.

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