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Sunday, September 17, 2017


by Jan Steckel 

Poster by Rusty Ford

The mercury was in triple digits, the moon
ocherous with smoke, cities submerged.
An orange gibbon necklaced in skulls
drop kicked brown-skinned Americans
over borders, polkaed over illegal bodies.

We sandbagged against the Klan,
stored water for dousing crosses,
hoarded fuel to flee Brown Shirts.
Cyclones whirled clockwise
south of the equator,
widdershins in the North.

We covered windows with plywood.
Black Bloc buffeted the downtown.
We all renewed our passports.
Churches built secret shelters
for the undocumented.
It was too late to evacuate the States.

We sheltered in place,
hunkered and braced for
depressions and disturbances.
A brassy trumpet’s wall rumbled up.
The Daily Stormer surged.
The Republic came tumbling down.

Jan Steckel was a Harvard- and Yale-trained pediatrician who took care of Spanish-speaking children until chronic pain persuaded her to change professions to writer, poet and medical editor. She is an activist for bisexual and disability rights who lives in Oakland, California. Her poetry book The Horizontal Poet (Zeitgeist Press, 2011) won a 2012 Lambda Literary Award. Her fiction chapbook Mixing Tracks (Gertrude Press, 2009) and poetry chapbook The Underwater Hospital (Zeitgeist Press, 2006) also won awards. Her creative writing has appeared in Scholastic Magazine, Yale Medicine, Bellevue Literary Review, and elsewhere. Her work won the Goodreads Newsletter Poetry Contest, a Zeiser Grant for Women Artists, the Jewel by the Bay Poetry Competition, Triplopia’s Best of the Best competition, and three Pushcart nominations.