KYSO Flash
Knock-Your-Socks-Off Art and Literature
Issue 7: Spring 2017
Lineated Poem: 213 words

The Republican Convention, 2016

by Dan Gilmore
July in Tucson, 113 degrees.
We’re both trying not to freak out.
I’m reading a book called
Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose.
Mary is watching the convention.
A southern minister is praying for God to rain
his venom down on liberals. Mary,
the most liberal and spiritual person I know,
pauses and says in her soft spiritual voice,

“Die you pig. Die all you fucking pigs.”

The runner at the bottom of the TV screen
reports two vacationing
Germans have died from heat exhaustion.

“Dumb shits,” Mary says.

A line in my book strikes me: “Flowers
are the enlightenment of plants.”
I think of the weeds in the backyard
and the one fiery bougainvillea that blooms
no matter what. Mary switches off the TV,
scrubs the counter hard with both hands,
and hums. I ask if she’s okay. She keeps
scrubbing and says,

“I’m trying to get my softness back. Just
shut the fuck up.”

I read that “Great loss is sometimes
followed by awakening,” and think
I’d like to be like that bougainvillea, growing
and blooming no matter what.
Mary joins me at the table, touches the back
of my hand and says,

“I’m okay now. I just realized a man
like that could never be elected president.”


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