Disconnection Notice

Someone says “let’s set the world on fire” and the Gaza sky

turns white with children’s kites militants struggle to the surface

of the bracken water my girlfriend has lace on her ankles fine

and a flask with a tiny rose embossed on it she has a conscience

that wakes her in the middle of the night with its fingers to her lips

it is the red death she tells me over the phone (but all I

hear are white orchids tumbling out of her mouth and filling my apt

to the brim) a headline tells me “Khmer Rouge jail chief floats

toward New Zealand” a sparrow warbles a dog barks a bee refuses

me even its sting my favorite show ends with the chemist slumped

lovingly over a barrel of methylamine it’s 2015 and stairwells

have become impossible “ each one of them claimed by another unarmed

black corpse and a police officer returning to the scene rinsed in blue light

“questions may be asked after the performance” the nurse whispers

and on the street a sign says have no heart haha

please help and another need money to fix wolf and another one

and another one have you met the rat tribe living in Beijing’s

underground city it’s a mistake to think

this world isn’t addressed to you it’s a mistake

to think it is

 

**

 

 

Russel Swensen’s work has appeared in Black Clock, Quarterly West, Pank, Better, Third Coast, The Collagist, and elsewhere. He is the author of Santa Ana  (Black Lawrence Press 2012) & The Magic Kingdom  (Black Lawrence Press 2016).

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