Everything Orbits Camels
by Megan Wildhood

There is a man in one cell here who did not kill his wife.
I spend my hour of library time listening,
no charge except stogs, to the toil of living voices
and the battered breaths between.

It costs two packs to stay sane today — someone's
intercepted the mail and is keeping it hostage so now
the illiteracy rate is nearly complete.
In other words, basically: people are missing.

Some have been beaten so much — here or elsewhere —
that they've had to learn how to read again. It's not like bicycling.
It's difficult as a warden to convince them, those kept up at night
by the squalls of insolent, singularly personal memories —

anyone locked up in here — that and really does mean the same thing
wherever you see it — instruction manual, intake form, Bible.
Like when you take the case of Sodom and Gomorrah
and yes and no and smoker and fire.

Or peanut butter and jelly
and chocolate and ketchup.
But maybe not in rich and poor,
life and death, black ___ white.

Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.

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