February 28, 2018 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

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Mike L. Nichols




Uphill, Both Ways



The oligarchs watching while

the ’mericans clash, firmly

entrenched in futile

left or right ideology.


They glance down at the ascending

digits in their offshore accounts.

They steeple their fingers.

Their tiny eyes glitter.


Meanwhile, children huddle

in barricaded classrooms,

pray to a god not listening,

await the screaming

.223 Remi’s.





In the beginning



the undertakers polyester suits

couldn’t withstand the volume

of work and soon they too were dead,

perhaps of constant exposure to

despair as well as lack of food,

and the ’mericans became once again

intimate with death. Dirty water and dirtier

rags scrubbing at the filth and shit

on the wasted bodies of children, elders, lovers, friends.

Penknives and paperclips paring blackness

from under fingernails. Keeping vigil in electric-less

hovels over stubs of tallow candles, chanting against

evil spirits, buying time til their beloved could

cross over. Praying to an absent god for a better

next-life, or for no-life at all. Wrapping too-thin

limbs and torpid torsos in the cleanest

dirty windings, weakly excavating the shallowest

of holes while pretending the skeletal

dogs will keep to the woods.






Mike L. Nichols

Mike L. Nichols is a graduate of Idaho State University. In 2014 Mike was awarded the Ford Swetnam Poetry Prize, judged by Ben Gunsberg. Look for his poetry in Rogue Agent, Taxicab Magazine, Tattoo Highway, Post Card Poems and Prose, and elsewhere. Find more at mikenicholsauthor.com

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