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austin wallace


Sometimes at night the mirror opens
and I climb in:
for once I am at home inside
myself, with this withered limb,
this clouded eye. Here in this netherworld
all things impossible are actual: my molecules rearrange
themselves, transformed
not to some simulacrum of health,
but instead become an oracle,
a sideshow Siri. For once no audience,
so finally honest answers float off
like debris, into the void:
I am angry at the universe…
This is why I don’t believe in God…
I’d like to reset life to Easy Mode…

Next morning I scrape the pixie dust
from my tear ducts:
Now I am merely myself, a retail automaton,
too educated to clean toilets,
too mobile to work from home;
instead my blood curdles, my vision blurs
as some Coupon Savant over-enunciates
a question, their smile opening like an incision,
reminding me that buy-one-get-one free means “half-off.”
Some weekends at sunset I park beside a field
whose cows let the moment pass uncommemorated.
I watch as the sky explodes in slow motion, crimson and gold dissolving
to velvet indigo. Here nothing is defined
by tax brackets or passport stamps. For a few moments
I feel as free as those photons streaking through the atmosphere.


Austin Wallace taught English for three years in South Korea, and seven months in Russia. He now works as a freelance writer and devotes his free time to the disability rights movement.