The soul, having waited in line, demands audience:

When is this window going to open? Damn right
we’ve been here for a while: gotten up well
before the crack of dawn, stood on the sidewalk
swatting clouds of mosquitoes biting our ankles;
followed instructions, taken a number, filled in
all the boxes and answered ridiculous questions
as patiently as possible— When was your most
recent return from a non-democratic country
in the last five years? Do you think blintzes
are superior to crepes? Why are you traveling
to Marseilles by yourself? Where is your man-
friend or escort? Why do you think only a small
percentage of the population makes
over $125,000 a year? Do you have anything
of value to declare?
What day is it? What century?
Above the vacant counter, the clock ticks next
to a faded poster reminding every citizen to file
returns. Everyone’s clerk to the crown, floor
custodian in the hierarchy— but regent
and sovereign of his own retinue of pain.


In response to Via Negativa: Warp.

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