The morning after


we emerge scorched earth
chap-lipped rye ringing
in our ears a four year
we do not      understand
our brows     furrowed
in disappointment
we gather
share   parka
share      hijab
against cold new wind
pass the conch
our mouths agape
a joint or three
between fingers
raised in mock peace
we yell a chasm
in unison hoping
it will erase the night
but it comes anyway
so we learn to operate
without light or air
hold our gasps

we take our spades
and dig
and dig
in threes
we replace every crater
with a spruce
a woman is not asked
to mend
every hopelessness
but she does anyway
crouched against the fire
our hands create
a pantomime on cave wall
shadows cast
by Golden Idols
they carted in
from the heartland—

whose heart
we wonder
whose land
whose limber limbic
hatred flows
through its rivers
poisoned caustic red
nerve pinch
vein bulge
eye twitch
anger so thorough
your father would be ashamed
how do we drink
from the same stream
as a demon?

tomorrow we will awake
the apocalypse will fade
a preexisting condition
we cannot shake
so we learn to watch
for boulders
and tumbling
and unkind words
and open carry
from pale strangers
whose only fear
is us
so we huddle together
and stare at them
while they rattle together
and stare at us
from the empty altar
they’ve built

tomorrow we will empty
ourselves in a circle
the sculptors
the artists
the poets
the proud     kooks
gather our morsels
under the rising
Yellow Star
pins in our lapels
drops of water
in a quiet undertow
and resist
and resist



Artist’s Statement

We feel broken.

We feel broken.

We feel like records someone forgot to flip, playing that raspy melody we’re not even sure means anything anymore. The others aren’t listening.

We feel impotent: unable to fix ourselves, to protect the vulnerable, to grieve with any meaning. Still. After the apocalypse, we must awaken. While we draw breath we must rail and resist and pour ourselves into creative endeavors because the river of knowledge will never stop flowing, not until the last human draws her breath, not until thought itself lays discarded on the highway. What we pour into the river is not for us, but for those who come after to sip at its shores before returning with a brimming bucket like we have.

Despair, but not for too long. Grieve, but be aware. Come back; Trump cannot halt us, though he might censor our words. Knit a blanket. Cook a hearty meal. Be kind to a fault.

And fight like hell.


SimandAlex Simand holds an MFA from Antioch University Los Angeles. He writes fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. His work has appeared in Red Fez, Mudseason Review, Five2One Magazine, Angel City Review, Drunk Monkeys, and others. Alex is the former Blog Editor for Lunch Ticket and past Editor of Creative Nonfiction and Diana Woods Memorial Prize. Find him online at or on Twitter at @AlexSimand.

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