A poem by Tricia McCallum called Captive Audience. A bleak doorway facing out to a barren vista



and also my fault, the way I pretend the world
isn’t happening, organizing my closet by color, by
season, touching the soft fabrics instead of reading the news.
The way I’m back at my window where I watch
the neighbor’s pride flag’s colors reflect the mood
of the moment, how it was twisted when the pandemic
started, how it has been twisted since the pandemic
continues, but right now it is flattened, faded
in a late summer light that aches with coming autumn,
its stripes of many colors pulled taut by the wind
like a dress set to dry on a line, while the people of Afghanistan
are rushing the airports, they are swarming the tarmac,
they are surrounding the airplanes as if they can leap onto a wing
and be lifted away from what’s happening to their lives,
the way the women are facing a terror bigger than tears
or the death of the earth, looking into a hole where the sun
had just been blooming, wrapping themselves again in their black
that had gathered dust in the back of their closets, the way their black
is mourning for the textbooks that will be burned, the way their black
is mourning for being walled again in their homes, the way their black
is mourning for the sun as it dims and the earth grows cold
and all the birds give up their plumage to die beneath the folds
of their colorless wings.

Meghan Sterling

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Writer and Poet

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Tricia McCallum

Always be a poet. Even in prose.
Charles Baudelaire.

In essence I am a storyteller who writes poems. Put simply, I write the poems I want to read.[…]

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