Leveler Poetry Journal
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Letter to Nathan from a Dream Mall


Dear Nathan,


Today I dreamed us into a new mall — platonic

ideal of treated glass and the fountains all smell


like showers post swim meet, pennies

at the bottom dark as the blot on a heart.


No Fry’s, but Best Buy; no Sbarro, but a Steak

Escape. My subconscious, after all, will only


make good on so many inbound requests.


It’s a place of empathy, empty. Absent girl teens

whose angry bones blade up through their fluid


jersey knits, no boys and their lacerations

at the metal lip of the dumpster. Only Lola,


forlorn matron, skims the unpeopled piazza,

LeSportsac hobo bloomed black with Bic


leakage. The sky through the skylight infinity

blue, the atrium prim with echo and reflected red


glare from the ghosts of light-up sneakers. I am

broke and haven’t a bad thought to my being.


Funny how we side-eye false positives,

throw ourselves into belief in their counterpart.


I am vowing to trust my gut, ecosystem to millions

set up in the primal cathedral of viscera, roiling


eyeless in that acid heat. We’re all waiting

for a vibrant, unassailable sign.


We’re in this together, timid dance of what to do

next. I don’t know, but so don’t the gut bugs


and they’re not raising a ruckus. Placid,

the rubber touch of the Congo Philodendron,


throat-caught rattle of descending metal

security gates: couldn’t stop a riot if they tried.

Kate Garklavs