life on film,
seen behind a viewfinder,
a barrier of plastic and charges
filtering out an azure sky,
expansive rolling landscape,
reflecting orbs slashed across city canvas.

life on film,
hidden behind a faux persona,
documenting every second of minutiae
and every milestone.
I missed a toddler’s first waddles across
the carpet
and watched it instead in pixelated form,
holding the moment aloft above the heads
of digital friends.

death on film,
hidden within five-by-three inches
of digitized delivery service of
emergency vehicles called to us too late
as a sister surrenders to broken bones
and bloody gashes
and another broken body
waves a white flag.

digital friends will call the cops
while you tell your dead sibling
to rest in peace
just before ending
a stream of debilitating

A. J. Howells teaches English in Northern Virginia. He lives in the woods with his wife, son and recently born daughter. He is the author of Cuffs Volume 1: Poetry, which consists of poetry written on the spur of the moment. Additionally, his fiction and poetry have been featured in ABSENCEThe First LineFarther Stars Than These, and Rhetoric Askew.

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