There was a bellow from the sky (or perhaps the eaves and rafters) and it said, Thou
shalt not cage children. And there were those among us who laughed it off. Love thy
neighbor, said the wind (which smelled of stale urine and illness), Love thy neighbor
and every thiney thine thing. Thou art they. And a voice from the dirt beneath us said,
Seek out justice where it needs to be sought. Thou shalt do the thing that needs
thy-thou-thine doing. But there was a talent show on television, a sale on cosmetics,
ads for things made cheaply and marketed well. The wind shook and said, Hey, you guys.
But there was something covetable for sale online and we hoped for free, fast delivery.
We were downloading apps and shaking fists at those poorer than us. Phantoms scudded
back and forth, laden with the scent of dark money on their breath. We ignored the
voice from the sky. You know—gelato and sitcoms, monster trucks and yoga classes,
Instagram and Pornhub. Verily I say unto you, said the wind (or perhaps the sills),
ye do the harm to one, ye do the same to the world. We celebrated Labor Day, Memorial
Day, Veteran’s Day. You bring me to harm, the soil cried, but there were
fireworks and barbeques, summer weddings, and cable shows about summer weddings. And
every thing-thine-thingy-thing we did unto one, we did into perpetuity, spittle in the
corners of our mouths, shit on the soles of our shoes, which had been made by small,
impoverished, enervate fingers, far away.
is a public school teacher, occasional adjunct professor, and writer living in southern New Jersey. He works for Murphy Writing of Stockton University and for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation’s Poetry Program. Poems appear in anthologies from Jane Street Press, Serving House Books, and others, and in numerous journals, including KYSO Flash and Eyedrum Periodically.
Blue, climate-crisis haibun in KYSO Flash (Issue 5,
Untitled (Future), lineated poem in KYSO Flash
Yellow, prose poem in KYSO Flash (Issue 5)