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Wednesday, November 04, 2020


by Jan Steckel

A blazing stateroom of clapping blondes. 

The President dropped the match. The windows 

blew out like a thousand Kristallnachts.


My husband slept through the little Hiroshima.

In the morning we’d have to pour into the streets.

I tried to curl up like the cat and snooze.


But voices whispered, “Anyone can march. 

Take up your pen. Write an anthem we can

sing again.” Dead poets filled my bedroom.


Victor Jara lifted broken hands.

García Lorca slid down a bullet-riddled wall.

Mandelstam starved and shivered in a transit camp.


My dead friend, Berkeley poet Julia Vinograd,

read new poems in my dream, turned to me. 

“Open your mouth,” she said. So hear me:


Tomorrow some will march, some write, 

and others sing. Though glass and bone shatter,

America will never bear another king.

Jan Steckel’s book Like Flesh Covers Bone won 2019 Rainbow Awards for LGBT Poetry and Best Bisexual Book. Her poetry book The Horizontal Poet won a 2012 Lambda Literary Award. Her fiction chapbook Mixing Tracks and poetry chapbook The Underwater Hospital also won awards. She lives in Oakland, California.