A Poem by Elizabeth Onusko

by Mark Bibbins, Editor

Performing Revolution for a More Luminous World

Rebels are singing lullabies at the palace gate
when children surround the king’s bed and tickle him
to death. In the square, cheering crowds
rally around an eternal flame.
Air force jets scramble to disperse clouds
and navy submarines troll the deep ocean
searching for bioluminescent life forms.
Past fascinations with vampires are decried.
Censors speed-read library books,
whiting out metaphors for evil.
The prison workshop tings as inmates
painstakingly repair burnt-out light bulbs.
Firefighters battling a five-alarm blaze
cry in their helmets. Pink-cheeked and sweating,
scholars debate interpretations of the sunset
while students commandeer telescopes
to spy on quasars and pulsars and galaxies.
Insomniacs occupy the asylum grounds
with hundreds of milk jug votives.
Patients stare from windows,
certain the sky has finally fallen
and those are stars writhing in the grass.

Elizabeth Onusko is the author of Portrait of the Future with Trapdoor, which won the Bryant-Lisembee Book Prize and will be published by Red Paint Hill in 2016. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Witness, Best New Poets 2015, and Slice Magazine, among others. She is assistant editor of inter|rupture.

You will find more poems here. You may contact the editor at poems@theawl.com.