In the dream I bury my father in the swamps of Florida, that empire of shithead tourists. In the dream he follows me to Kansas City, where we watch the rats gather at the river. Some day, I’ll take my hammer to the roots of every bridge, dam, and high-voltage tower within city limits, believe me. This open letter to the workers at the sawmill reads simple as dirt: I can’t let you have any money in your work. But before we declare a state of emergency for the twenty-first century, let’s call a truce: I won’t make this political until you make this political. Hey little pilgrim, you come out west and you better buy yourself a gun. Listen: nobody photographs the moss-smothered trees in the swamps of Florida, not when traffic’s gridlocked on the bridge and the tour of the Spanish monastery starts in an hour. The world’s last accountant drinks himself to sleep every night, and the rats gather at the corpse of an unarmed shithead tourist.

October 18, 2020

Derek Graf

Derek Graf's poems have been featured in The Journal, Portland Review, Passages North, Salt Hill, and elsewhere. He received his MFA from Oklahoma State University, and is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Kansas. He teaches in the English Department at Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma City.

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