(CNS photo/Stephanie Keith, Reuters)

Latest fact: it turns out jet contrails aren’t governmentally dispensed psychotropic agents
bioengineered to turn the heartland American population gay or autistic or whatever,

but, still, you can feel something barbing the air, a poisonous atmosphere everywhere,
the clabbering of civility, the strange connections between click bait and road rage,

our immediate impatience almost tautologous as words of ungulpable disgust go spilling
like mealy mouthfuls from overstuffed mouths in the war of stuck-up cucks and stupid cocks,

all this tension an electromagnetic field one wanders into and out of a dozen times a day.
We keep reading whatever feed fundamentally ratifies the version of the world we want,

we keep imagining insults more furious, more irrefutable than the ones we imagined
the day before, but mostly we are waiting for a future that, in its cataclysm, satisfies

all of our longing for some vindication of this apocalyptic dread. To have it be nothing—
to have the spurious claims and ramifying counterclaims reduced to a species of pollen,

an irritant, to be sure, but mostly seasonal and ultimately little more than a means
of some irrelevant, inhuman form of propagation—would be the beginning of what

none of us could survive. Not yet unraveled and dissipated, those cicatrix-like contrails
streamline the sky with cataracted redactions. Something cut, something crossed out?

I sort with the thin-lipped factions who see a huge transparent hand double-underlining
letters too large and clear to be legible in the giant invisible sentence hanging over us.

Stephen Kampa is the author of three collections of poetry: Cracks in the Invisible (2011), Bachelor Pad (2014), and Articulate as Rain (2018). His work has appeared in the Christian Century, the
Yale Review, the Cincinnati Review, Southwest Review, the Hopkins Review, Poetry Northwest, Subtropics, and Smartish Pace. He was also included in Best American Poetry 2018 and Together in a Sudden Strangeness: America’s Poets Respond to the Pandemic (2020). During the spring of 2021, he was the writer in residence at the Amy Clampitt House. He teaches at Flagler College.

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Published in the November 2022 issue: View Contents
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