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Monday, August 14, 2017


by Lyndi Bell O’Laughlin

The Robert E. Lee statue for which the "Unite the Right" rally was organized to protest its removal in Charlottesville, Va., on Aug. 13, 2017.  (Tasos Katopodis / EPA via The Chicago Tribune)

It makes me want to hurl myself
off a cliff.
They are still here.
With permission to be unashamed
and a hall pass from the president,
who hand feeds them Ensure
and protein bars on weekends.
They slither the streets
as if they have something new
to add to the national discourse.
Confederate flags.
Once I pretended they were rats.
Annoying, but you didn’t really
see them that often.
They have been breeding in the dark,
spreading disease across sidewalks
and playgrounds.
No antibacterial soap in the world is strong
enough to cover that kind of stench.
My eyes, lately a little stunned,
cast themselves on photos
of Charlottesville. They stutter when
reporting back to the brain,
who rubs its ears, slaps its cheeks,
reaches for dilapidated walking shoes.
Dips a finger into an ink pot and
traces NO across her forehead.

Lyndi Bell O’Laughlin’s poetry has appeared, or is forthcoming, in Nasty Women Poets: An Unapologetic Anthology of Subversive Verse (Lost Horse Press, Fall, 2017), Troubadour: An Anthology of Music-inspired Poetry (Picaroon Poetry Press, 2017), Blood, Water, Wind, and Stone: An Anthology of Wyoming Writers (Sastrugi Press, 2016), Gyroscope Review, TheNewVerse.News, Picaroon Poetry, Unbroken Journal and elsewhere.