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Linda Bryant

Asking for Help During the Reign of Trump



I think of Jessie & how easily she paints the tossed
away or flattened. Blue plastic swimming
pool, cry-baby doll, right arm
missing, eyes stuck half open, a deflated
K-Mart beach ball. In watercolors
& oils, she renders them lovely. Lightning split
the telephone pole on Sweetbriar the same
morning I collapsed in Jessie’s studio. I wept


torrents because I figured it out. I have always
loved her but not like a wife or flame. No flirtation
or affair, but with a potency that shoots up
& down my spine like a cliff
swallow flying to earth’s inner core & sailing
with her own wings to the habitable zone
of the Andromeda. Thunder moans
as the storm inches toward the eastern
plateau. Today a Trump rally 


in Tulsa that’s crammed with race
insults has replaced the weather
report & I feel dragged
down. The broadcaster at least wants us
safe. We are endangered, the peril
is behemothic & I’m lost
in my smartphone. I am
buckling; the country’s mood
is toxic & infected words pour into me
like cheap beer. I feel paralyzed, 
a baby doll at the landfill. Jessie, 
with your bright palette, your brushes
of ox & badger, can you find
my goodness?  Paint it new
with glint & luster?   

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