by R.B. Morgan

        I live in a nearly empty, dying

        Mid-Western State.

        It is the unwinding heart of the

        Broken hearted country.

        It is haunted by love:

        The absence, the with-holding, the cruel,

        Thoughtless promise of.

        Death on cue appears constantly,

        An ambiguous art-house character

        Either stalking through ruthlessly

        Or standing by a window-sill

        mild, soft-spoken, determined

        To be well dressed and cordial.

        It becomes, like love, whatever

        We can stand to believe,

        Either one great stroke of cancellation

        Or an eternity of praise and absolution.

        Or neither, depending on

        The urgency of our need,

        Rising in our memory, an

        Ancient predator circling

        The antic, screeching troop.

        Its close and real menace is

        What makes us love, and agonize

        For what must be paid

        As our own ransom,

        The unconscionable price.


        As a prisoner of this broad and bleak

        History, I am forced to love as some

        Are driven to flimsy ceremonies

        They don’t, they can’t believe in,

        But must cling to with devotion

        For the promise of a

        Momentary salvation,

        A savior and his millennium

        Endlessly deferred.

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