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Friday, November 10, 2006


by Donald Illich

Sometimes I dream FDR
rises from his wheelchair
turns our ship back to harbor,
while we tie ourselves
to masts, so sirens adorned
in glitzy suits and watches,
don’t keep us from the shore.

In the same fantasy I hear
Lincoln laughing behind me,
pointing to the Liberty Bell
healing its crack, while
an elephant stomps past me
chased by mice dancing to
echoing peals of joy.

Then Nixon apologizes inside
a pool of Agent Orange,
Cowboy Reagan ropes
himself to a nuclear weapon.
The mediocrities of our present
are stuffed with mines that’ll
explode if they try to speak.

A map of my country grows
beneath my feet, and I mix
separate and unequal cities
with a quick stir of my hands,
welcome the cheering crowds
massing in buildings and parks,
waving their arms like flags.

Donald Illich has published poetry in The Iowa Review, Fourteen Hills, Roanoke Review, and New Zoo Poetry Review. His work will be included in future issues of Passages North, Nimrod, LIT, and The Sulphur River Literary Review. He received a Prairie Schooner scholarship to the 2006 Nebraska Summer Writer's Conference.