News arrives of this body’s revolt, and I am so out of touch
when it comes in sketchy dispatches, like sudden midnight
bursts of shortwave, or sirens clashing with the blue-grey dawn
to announce a guerilla campaign in our outlying provinces,
that I almost give credence to the initial word from the capital,
a garbled release laden with the usual, superficial, trite and coded
clichés calling for brotherhood and closure – words we have come
to expect and despise from party hacks so cut off from the dispossessed.

Meanwhile, secret forces have joined a vicious rear-guard skirmish,
squandering scarce resources in furious fighting along a line
of remote frontier outposts. Unreported in the scramble for facts
is any word on the soul, and its lingering, clandestine and long-
forgotten relation to the more notorious faces of intrigue.

In any case, it is remote and forbidding terrain where the forces
struggle, where once a young boy played in rock-strewn gorges
in the failing light of an early spring, searching for pine cones
and owl spoor amid the wizened conifers and frail blue wildflowers,
finding in these talismans a glimpse of the past and a foretaste
of the future:
                              In the one, seemingly bounded in a nutshell,
a soaring potential of blue sky and arms unfolding toward heaven;
and in the other – consumed and digested by the beating, red heart
of life, something wholly unexpected – an equally intricate design, but
like that of a funeral blanket, bearing the delicate touches of an artisan
in the fine wisps of blue hair and the exquisitely thin, fluted bones.

Tim Hawkins has lived and traveled widely throughout North America, Southeast Asia and Latin America, where he has worked as a journalist, technical writer, communications manager, and teacher in international schools. He currently lives in his hometown of Grand Rapids, Michigan. His writing has appeared in numerous print and online publications, most recently in BluelineFour and Twenty (, Iron Horse Literary Review, The Pedestal Magazine (, and Shot Glass Journal (, and is forthcoming in The Midwest Quarterly, and Verse Wisconsin.

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