That was the year when sanity went missing.
When every pulpit was gravid. Cheats winked
at cheats and sewed an ode to darkness.
All the willowy coat checks became
pick-pockets. Sad clergy wore holy street clothes
to wait in line for bread and milk. The year when
wheel-chairs and desk chairs floated down
city streets—Crying outliers holding on
to shingles for dear life. It was the horrific year
the Gods went off their meds. Front doors
booted down. Children hid under their beds.
And men with small snagged zippers ignited
Tiki torches of hate on Main Street. Headlines lifted
the bray of ink: Floods/Fires/Nazis in the same
single breath—as human nature becomes
a Swastika—It was the year of Alt-sleuths,
the facts hijacked by rogue detectives in white hoods.
False equivalencies swapped homes with
pink faced Gods having their shoes shined
by doctors without borders, without jobs.
It was the year the moon shone no papers—She was
deported in the dead of night, a trauma of assault
by a fraternity of clouds. The Gods guzzled
Justice and sucker punched it into
a brown paper bag. When there is no language
for human pain, guns are the jewelry of men.
We frisked pockets for last cigarettes—
Across rooms of oceans, a cross-eyed seamstress
slaves away to weave and weep our cloth tombs.
Cynthia Atkins is the author of Psyche’s Weathers and In The Event of Full Disclosure. Her work has appeared in numerous journals, including Alaska Quarterly Review, BOMB, Cleaver Magazine, Diode, Florida Review, Green Mountains Review, North American Review, Tampa Review, Tinderbox, and Verse Daily, among many others.