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South Dakota, October 2019. Copyright © Michael D. Warden. All rights reserved.


(6th of January 2021, a Wednesday)

Here is what it’s like:

You’re standing

on the cliff’s edge

over a deep

dry canyon

of reds and greys

and someone,

someone evil,

a mischief god,

grabs the tail of your shirt

with one hand

and with the other

shoves you forward

so you are left


over the chasm,


at their mercy.

Or like this:

You’re walking

through a crowded plaza

in the town

where you live.

You’ve done this

10,000 times

without a single

thought of fear.

But now

you think,

“Some of these people

are trying to kill me.

It could be



of them.”

Or this:

You wake up

one morning

and find the people

you’ve known and loved

all your life

have been seduced

by the power

of a dark wizard’s spell

and you’ve no idea,

none at all,

how to free them.

And now

they are setting

the world

on fire.

I stand upon the wall

and weep.

I sing out over the city,

begging the hearts there

not to darken,

not to turn

into violence.

But they are not willing.

Have mercy now.

We’ve been tricked, you see.

We’ve all been conned.

And all the wealth

of who we could be

is being stolen

right under our noses,

right before our eyes.

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