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Friday, April 16, 2021


by Mark Danowsky

                    for Adam Toledo 

I tell you the worse version 

So you'll tell me 

It wasn't as bad as I say 

He wears the same 

underwear I wear 


For reasons that 

Embarass me 

He wears a fake luxury belt

Like one I bought as a half joke 

Except I know better 

Or tell myself so 

The blood is in his mouth 

But that's not where we can look

So we look below the neck 

Above the waist 

Fearing every in-between

I see the branding in my dreams 

because like Charli says 

I want it all 

Even if it's fake 

This is not fake—

The child run down 

Shot bloody 

Shot through

Shot dead 

I have avoided watching

More than I feel I am allowed to admit 

Design tricks me down this rabbit hole 

& so I see & do not understand 

& have to see again & again 

& from other perspectives

& it is written  

None provide a verdict 

A child of thirteen dead 

& I know no more only more 

That this dream we claim is a mirror 

Shattered by lost souls 

Mark Danowsky is Editor-in-Chief of ONE ART: a journal of poetry and Senior Editor for Schuylkill Valley Journal. He is author of the poetry collection As Falls Trees (NightBallet Press). His work has appeared in Bird Watcher’s Digest, Cleaver Magazine, Gargoyle, The Healing Muse, and elsewhere.