An open blind casts shadow bars
on a blank page mid-morning.
They are a mask—a birch forest
on a tilted globe. You are mistaken
for a monumental stair by a robot
that thinks your ribs
are made for climbing. The takeover
has begun. No crickets or grasshoppers
within earshot to wake you
from the middle of a dream
about an encounter with that singing
curmudgeon in a neglected corridor
on the top floor
of a Victorian apartment house.
Facial expressions nearly legible
by candlelight. You’ve lost track
of what day it is.
The smell of handgun smoke
lingers on the mall
after the muzzle blast dies.
A 300-year-old bur oak splits open
under the stress of rot, weight, age—
drought the final straw.
The park has always had a bird man
who ignores the signs
not to feed the geese, ducks,
pigeons, red-winged blackbirds.
The occasional great blue heron
that fishes in the lake
doesn’t need anyone’s help.
You were once a bumper car stuck
going backwards in figure eights,
before rhythmically slamming into walls
on repeat. You’ve spent your life
trying not to become the ball
crushed into a 2D idea
in mere moments. Night fell
on national chant at the moon day
without so much as a whimper
released from your throat.
Let the howling resume tomorrow.