O sleepless wives of Mount Sinai, do you fear your dangerous proximity to the sun? The last strip mall in Kansas closes down with little fanfare, and this October night’s unseasonal heat touches me deeply. When I die, spread my ashes over the landfills that punctuate the highways of Missouri. Or pour them into the lap of the Oklahoma senator who calls me terrorist. Lover, all your favorite actors dedicate their bodies to plastic: are any of us certain we’ll live through the night? Brother, did you see my face in that big black cloud? In the dream I jumped from Glen Canyon Dam into the lap of an Oklahoma senator. In the dream I woke up smothered in rainwater in the sporting goods department of a Wal-Mart. Switchblades and rifles in glass cases, on sale all week. I worry about our inability to collect ourselves. Food deserts and impound lots, court dates and rural arson. I worry about our unwillingness to collect ourselves even for a moment. Meat-packing plants, abandoned stockyards, railroad lines: hymns to progress, bringing in the sheaves, right? I live forever in a state of absolute terror, now eat and rejoice!

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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