“MONUMENT” by Steven Abell

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This year’s first honorable mention for poetry goes to Steven Michael Abell for his poem, “Monument.” Steven writes that he is more or less from Red Lodge, MT, and has been writing poetry for 12 years. He is a senior and he will be attending graduate school this coming fall at UMass Amherst. Congrats, Steven.

Monument

People walk around, across the
world, wearing your coats, hats.
Streets are sometimes barricaded.
Balloons let go, thousands of them.
People cover their houses with lights.
The sun rises and burns up all the snow.
Men and women leave their homes to pray,
pay debts, get into arguments at the post office.

The morning after your twenty-first, I rise and
dangle a headache over my toilet. I burn toast.
Paper says a dozen more statues were torn down.
Radio says to stay inside because it’s way too hot.
Few people go to work because it’s Saturday.
Many people go to work because it’s Saturday.
There’s a hole in my shoe but it hasn’t ever rained.

I join the men and women who march in the streets
throwing rocks and bottles, congesting traffic, lighting
fires, choking on gas, bleeding from their noses, mouths,
shouting for change. I crawl through a broken window
and look for your name on lunch pails; inside the cover
of an old hardback about spiders. I dig through a mound,
lifting shoes by their tongues, and I can hear the streets,
like a television left on for background noise. I cannot tell
which part is riot, which revolution. I do know,
though, I’m the only person looting this second-hand store.

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