Settled

“Oh, awful. Sickening. The stats alone
could make your stomach turn. The other day
I told my friend, it can’t go on this way—
the ritual where these leaders just condone,
or smirk and turn their backs—or else bemoan
our ‘loss of values’ and pretend to pray…
You know, you think: a few used to display
a little strength of character, backbone…
And now we’re all just left (you’re sure? oh, thanks)
wondering, where’s the line? How many traumas
before we shake the numbness off, close ranks—
make sacrifices, right?—take active measures…
—No, I should, too. I’m swamped. Oh, no, the pleasure’s
mine. I’ve got the check next time, I promise.”

Austin Allen

Austin Allen

Austin Allen's debut poetry collection, Pleasures of the Game (Waywiser Press, 2016), was awarded the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize. His poetry has appeared in The Yale Review, The Missouri Review, The Sewanee Review, 32 Poems, and other journals. He lives and teaches in Cincinnati.
Austin Allen

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Author: Austin Allen

Austin Allen's debut poetry collection, Pleasures of the Game (Waywiser Press, 2016), was awarded the Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize. His poetry has appeared in The Yale Review, The Missouri Review, The Sewanee Review, 32 Poems, and other journals. He lives and teaches in Cincinnati.