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Tuesday, July 07, 2020


by Mark Williams

Hateboards photo via Campaign

“Hello, Mrs. Baumgart. Is Kyle at home?
It’s me Austin Baggerly on the phone.     No, Mrs. Baumgart.
Dad is still living at his house and Mom and me and Bradley
are living at ours.     Bradley is my turtle.     Yes, Mrs. Baumgart.
I wash my hands after playing with Bradley. Mom says
I’m more likely to get the 19 virus before Bradley makes me sick,
specially since Dad doesn’t believe in masks. He says
masks are for commonist pussies.     Excuse me, Mrs. Baumgart.
But that’s what Dad says. And when he picks me up
he makes me take mine off in the car.     I know, Mrs. Baumgart.
But he’s my dad. He makes me go with him. He says
if the President comes to town he’ll take me.
I would like to go with Dad that day, cause if I see the President
I’ll ask him why he doesn’t care if Grandma Baggerly dies.
I’ll tell him he’s old too, and since alls he cares abouts is him—
Mom says so—he should wear a mask. Then Dad will wear a mask
and I can wear a mask and save Grandma.     Mrs. Baumgart,
do you think Kyle and I will go to school this fall? Do you think
the virus will ever go away? Will there be more viruses after?
Do you think our planet will still be here when I’m old?
Mom says the rest of my life depends on the next election?
Do you think so? Dad says Joe Biden would be like taking a bus
across America instead of an airplane. Mom says if that’s true,
our President is a skateboard.     Mrs. Baumgart,
was it ever like this when you were growing—
Oh, hi Kyle. What’s up?”

Mark Williams wears a mask in Evansville, Indiana. His poems and stories have appeared in The Southern Review, Rattle, New Ohio Review, Drunk Monkeys, The American Journal of Poetry, and in the anthologies The Boom Project and American Fiction. His poems in response to the current administration have appeared in TheNewVerse.News, Writers Resist, Poets Reading the News, and Tuck Magazine.