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Photo: Alexa Vachon
Whoever tied the Mylar birthday balloon to the dead squirrel on Main Street thinks big. Cyborg City. Raisin eyes pressed deep into butter cookies faces. They don’t know how to dance, or snatch. They do know how to run the mouthy object of desire over with a big white truck. Ghost truck. Everywhere, the same truck circling. Dead is nice and quiet. Just the way they like it. A sky-high pile of decapitated dandelions. A chemical moat around the rows. Mushrooms under the elms: hunted, buttered and gulped down by the pound.
I Cast the Shadow of a Sword Over Sky and Sea
Police found a sixty-nine-year-old volunteer clown sodomizing a rare Siberian tiger in an earthquake-ravaged apartment. Precinct reports showed that neighbors had complained of odd smells, sounds, lights, music, and colors coming from the man’s house since the Civil War. Along with the tiger, seventy Komodo dragons were found under the man’s waterbed and a pterodactyl. All of the animals were wearing too much lipstick and prosthetic Hubba Heinies. In the living room, radioactive waste had leaked through its metal containment barrel and burned a hole through all sixteen floors of the building, straight through to the center of the earth and out the other side. In his statement to the press, the clown denied any wrongdoing: “I are a peaceful man. We be conducting a full investigation into this matter. We half the utmost respect for animals—for lactating women—for Italian-Americans—for the mentally challenged—for the dead.” In lieu of an official statement, his wife preferred to let a Bundt cake do the talking.
Jennifer L. Knox’s new book of poems, Days of Shame and Failure, will be published by Bloof Books this October. Her poems have appeared four times in The Best American Poetry series as well as in American Poetry Review, Bomb, McSweeney’s, and The New Yorker, She teaches at Iowa State University.
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Both regulators and employers have embraced new technologies for on-the-job monitoring, turning a blind eye to unjust working conditions.
But I do miss the hymns, / the small, hard apples with their dimpled skin. I do miss / things.
The vast hinterlands of the Global South’s cities are generating new solidarities and ideas of what counts as a life worth living.