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S. Asher Sund


The problem is they changed my gate number

and searched me with a wand.

They asked me to take off my shoes and my belt

and step through a beeping door.

They made me unzip my skin

take out the metal plate

extract the shrapnel

the fillings

the tongue.

They checked my stool for hidden explosives.

They prodded my kidneys

they kneaded my heart

they took away my books of poetry

for the questionable language

and my pens as proven weaponry.

They got on a stepstool with a vacuum device

and emptied my brain

of all threatening contentsó

the strategies

the doubt

the bad thoughts

the undecipherable codes.

They had me strip

and high-step through a line of tires.

They called me sir as they made me

get on my hands and knees

and bark like a dog. Strictly

out of curiosity they asked me if I knew

any jokes. I told the one

about the guy saying hi to his friend Jack

while going through airport security.

They didnít like that. They didnít laugh.

They put me through a machine

they hooked me up with an IV

they plugged me in

and ran all sorts of tests.

They told me I was a candidate for cancer

and much sadness.

They told me the settings were off

in my Control Panel.

They told me my knees were questionable.

They said my eyes were strained.

They were very thorough. They left nothing out.

They snapped on rubber gloves

and clicked my hyperlinks.

Afterwards they handed me back my liver

and told me to memorize a bible verse

told me to salute the president

told me to have a nice day.

Above them the TV spoke of the possibility of war

as if they could just ignore

as if they were just closing their eyes

as if they just didnít know how

to talk about or prepare us for

the war before the war

the war that was already here

the war at the heart of a nation at peace.

S. Asher Sundís work has been published in The Clackamas Literary Review, Willow Springs, Margie, Square Lake, and The Comstock Review, among others.

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