“and even you forgot those brilliant flashes seen from afar” -Ruth Stone

pandemic dream #7

watching an olympic-style broadcast but it’s also a telethon. people are posing as “unicorns” to raise money to save new york. the child in the house is watching and has a favorite contestant. we’re busy cooking, so we aren’t paying attention when she needs us to call in. we take too long while the child insists and whines and then we realize that it’s a trap, and more calls release these “unicorns” from captivity. her favorite is screaming and crying on the telecast, and i suddenly hear scratching coming from under the cabinet. open the door and see the favorite, dead, just as the curry soup boils over on the stove. we can’t let anybody know we’re murderers.



Nephews (4/1/2020)

in the great green room there was a telephone

i’m singing an aria of hope
and abundant love
in the next room, or
down the hall
across the country
which feels especially as vast as it is. today

is a very special day. one month of this
wonder on my mind. and it’s april fools,
a day of my heart, bursting. i pick up my
guitar, i pick up several pens. a tiny paintbrush. i can’t get it
out. i can’t get this across. deep day of love,
i wanna leave a gift. what can i say?

you will believe in love
because i love you fiercely
and sweetly and with a hope that never falters.
i aim to reach out virtually because i cannot
tell you this in person: the night we met, i knew i’d,
never let you go. i’ve gotta tell the world: 
my heart has altered, i’m so
brand new. i think that it is wonderful,
my world is full of you.





on tuesday i pull the knight of wands and pack my tiny suitcases. he’s sure i can go the distance, dragging my luggage behind. what a hawk will tell me about moving in the world. i answer the phone but don’t keep any reservations. how do i gather your ears close? hold your hands and guide reflection? i tried to beam myself to detroit from the bed this morning. a brown bird crossed my window and laughed. seemed to say, give up while you’re guiltless. seemed to say, never let go of your heart.


on tuesday i lose my nerve and stop calling my favorite voices. the two of cups spilling down. who am i to say what needs saying? a tender feeling i want to fight for but don’t own. a gentle moment filled with barbs. what can my hands do with a tactless keyboard? who can i reach with my insignificant reasons? i empty a coffee cup, a water bottle. a jar of leave-in conditioner. please, give back the soft you had. please, love us for exactly who we truly are.


on monday they tell me every cloud has a silver lining but it’s just the three of swords. the shine of the blade crossing another. we clash together and part. we battle and hum. some glory in the inevitable but i am focused on the newly minted memories of my life instead. vibes on deck and a salty sea breeze—i don’t have a way to say this terrible thing. you’re right, and you’re right, and everybody’s sad. maybe it’s time to get wrong and happy again.

Appears in this issue

Lauren Hunter is the author of HUMAN ACHIEVEMENTS (Birds, LLC 2017). She lives in Durham, NC.

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