Webster’s Dictionary defines “communist” as “one who speaks with ghosts” by Brian Dau

From their high places, the hawks stalk
toddlers and leer down at the ghost
of Marcus Aurelius screeching and
bubbling mad purple geometries,
chanted scars etched into young brains:
“I’m cicadas swarming, I’m flame,
I’m a four-and-a-half-hour erection!
I’m a rotted oak filigreed with vine,
I’m asteroid impact, I’m astral projection!”
He’s like this all the time. He pretends it’s falling
into water that shuts his eyes. The hawks
unblinking and him watching them back.
He gnaws a stalk of wheatgrass. He says
“Being dead is as stoic as you can get,”
and the way he says it sounds like a threat.
The raptors chorus and pick
off the smallest and sickly
as the children riot and disperse.
See? Things are never as bad
as they seem. They are worse.


Brian Dau is a writer and editor in Los Angeles. His work has appeared in Three Line Poetry. All income from his poetry contributes to replacing his body with robot parts.

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