>POETS

>They attacked the windows first, because they were devilish smart. One of them had a diamond ring, shrieking a circle against the glass before another smashed his hand through, protected from cuts by a thick lace handkerchief. We had enough fuel left to burn through the first few of them, but not much beyond that. Relentless, they had become.

*

I looked one in the eye today. That was all it took. A chance collision of vision, and he was after me. I felt his hands in my sides before I had even taken my first step. Sharp, malnourished fingers, all that directionless energy, funneled up against me. In emerging rain, I was beaten, unremittingly and lyrically, only given reprieve as a rainbow appeared mercifully in the sky. I turned over on the concrete, my bruised body already swelling, filling.

*

Television, now, was a blank friend. Radio only spoken rhythms, cadences that lodged behind your eyes, straining like crowbars. Even the sky was awash with their damn balloons. Newspapers defaced, cut up and left to die. Government awash with the meek reconfigurations of policy. They have given in without a word. Crushed with easy, empty threats.

*

I am the last one left, or so it seems. Now the people I knew—the brave souls I fought with—are standing on street corners, reading from hand-bound booklets. I spend my time in the sewers, the last point of prosaic salvation. But I am never safe. Every moment of every day, I expect to hear those first lines echo at my shoulder, the fatal stanza to bring me down.

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