Michelle Reale, Liberation Army

Liberation Army
Michelle Reale

Well, you know, it’s really been, you know, quite a trip for me.
—Patty Hearst

Everything pointed to survival. I was Patty Hearst with a loaded gun,
but really, more like meringue: all flourish with little substance.

The cinnamon I craved was dark as peat, still, I sprinkled it over everything.
My task was subjective. I tied the Gordian knot and focused on digestion.

The suppression of the lump in my throat was a collaborative effort.
My peripheral vision has failed me more than once, my words concise in a clutch.

I used to live in a country where a broken heart was a sin, but then I crossed the
border. The gentry invested in my doubt, waited for what I might

leave behind, then rifle through in my things. Consolation comes in the form of
lies. If we could put our algorithms to better use, the government might treat us

like loyal children who only crave a warm glass of milk before bed. I am nearly
pavlovic at the initial tonal hints of the Ave Maria. I weep into my princess

sleeves, but I remain strong enough to catch a dying star in my bare hands,
a sure cure for persistent melancholy.

The man who beat his dog, lost his wife, but found her again.
It is a love story I am fond of telling, though the optics are troubling.

My friends miss me so much. I once said soldier when I meant to say shoulder, conflating
the weight of our extraordinary burdens and obligations, spread evenly among us.

Through the velvet fog we endure, but still we are impressed by the shelf life of everyday
agonies. Utopian thinking has a purpose because the seasons are, after all, persistent.

Call me Tania.


Michelle Reale is an Associate Professor at Arcadia University and the author of seven collections of poetry including the most recent The Marie Curie Sequence (Dancing Girl Press), the forthcoming All These Things Were Real (West Philly Press), and Confini: Poems of Refugees in Sicily (Cervena Barva Press, 2018).

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