Scoundrel Time

In the House of Blind Swordsmen

Copper foil, screens, and flashing all work
as the best way to eradicate slugs.
As yet, no progress,
and yet, orations from the flowers of state,
a paean to the healing powers of purple blossoms,
the endless capacity for any of us
to fall and rise and fall once more
our skeletons resilient.
In the holding place, children untouched–
some see this as great, but the speaker means
they are rolled in their silver blankets
and drugged. Not one permitted the contact of arms.
Outside your sons throw balls into the summer sky,
trying to strike out the stars.
They whisper counts like color commentators
into their hands. They send their main aspiration
beneath the eves where it gathers like smoke.
In the holding place, many are crying in languages
the guards do not understand. Many are picking
through shirts and pants all the sizes wrong.
You must know the family mould is now broken,
but if I told you sand walls were crumbling
all restrictions gone, would you rub
your eyes and consult the nearest calendar,
dates passing like heart’s mirage?
The only way to take fire from the dark is by hand.
The only way to save someone
from the drowning river is to wade into
a fine dream and pull them to shore.
And yet, the savior always needs
saving. And yet, I am a coward, you see,
and confine myself to gathering a few atoms
to sprinkle them like salt. Hiding at home,
my few words no stronger
than paper dissolved, ink ableed,
and I am no faster than snails
climbing the local trash heap
with all available speed.



Ian Randall Wilson‘s first collection, Ruthless Heaven, was published by Finishing Line Press in 2017. He has previously published two chapbooks, Theme of the Parabola and The Wilson Poems. His fiction and poetry have appeared in The Gettysburg Review and Alaska Quarterly Review. He has an MFA in Fiction and in Poetry from Warren Wilson College. By day, he is an executive at Sony Pictures Entertainment.






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