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In the New Republic

in MeToo by

we will call men “Sir”
or “Baby” or “Master,”
whichever they prefer
at the time.

In the New Republic
they’ll only broadcast cat videos
and cooking shows
and Puppy Bowl
and The Bachelor
(never The Bachelorette)
and the Bachelors will put
all the women
they’ve ever wanted
into a row
and choose one of us
and choose her
and choose her
and choose her
until they tire of thrusting
their rose-red stems
into her
face.

In the New Republic
we won’t ask for the truth
anymore
but they’ll tell it to us
with a slap on the cheek
with their hands on our throats
with gleaming pistoled fists.
They’ll say these New Truths
are self-evident
but we’ll know they’re not new.
They are ancient.

In the New Republic
sharp objects will not be allowed,
so we’ll sit together
and knit our shrouds
with our hands.
We’ll scrape wool stitches
over tender knuckles
onto yellow-blue arms,
and wonder exactly
which outrage
crazed the glass
whose blind eye
shattered the shield
between us
and the New Republic.

In the New Republic
we will have no choice but to knit
and whisper steel into each other’s spines,
remind each other of the dreams we’ve
dripped into our daughters’ ears. In
time they will know how to dig,
and where our bones lie, how
to slip through the dark,
and how to use stones
to quietly fracture
us, sharpen us
into the slicing
edge of a
jagged
New
Age.

 


Tara Campbell, based in Washington, D.C., is a Kimbilio Fellow, a fiction editor at Barrelhouse, and an MFA candidate at American University. Prior publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Jellyfish Review, Booth, and Strange Horizons. Her novel, TreeVolution, was published in 2016, followed in 2018 by Circe’s Bicycle. Her third book, a short story collection called Midnight at the Organporium, will be released by Aqueduct Press in 2019.

Photo by Richard Hirajeta.