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Better living through pharmacology,
except when CVS can’t fill a pres-
cription, claiming your mental
health pills are no longer available.
Suddenly, the old fears emerge:
a man drifting through the back
roads, wandering between burning
pines and wild boars grazing
at his feet. If this is how the world
ends, then I want to be food
for the animals. They can sniff
out danger and the flesh of this
man gorged on Japanese natto
and tobiko. Sometimes you have
to lose in order to come back
in new formulated chemistry.
Nature doesn’t need medicine
to know how much fuckery
there is in the human heart.



Whatever insists on being kept out

finds its way in regardless, or better


it already lives inside the garden

where white maggots diligently work


unseen underground.  The children

kept in cages will one day rise


to till the soil with their bare hands

up turning the malaise of this age,


aerating and giving meaning to their

new lives in this land of hatred.


Their memories will sprout new chances

to get history right, but for now lay


on the cold hard floor and suckle

on empty formula bottles and stare


at the way constellations form

on the popcorn-tile ceiling.


Caged and forgotten, they wait.








Virgil Suárez was born in Havana, Cuba in 1962 and is the author of four novels, a collection of stories, two memoirs, and ten poetry collections. At the age of twelve he arrived in the United States. He received an MFA from Louisiana State University in 1987. His work has appeared in a multitude of magazines and journals internationally. He has been taking photographs on the road for the last three decades. When he is not writing, he is out riding his motorcycle up and down the Blue Highways of the Southeast, photographing disappearing urban and rural landscapes. His tenth volume of poetry, THE PAINTED BUNTING’S LAST MOLT, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in the Spring of 2020.

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