Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

24 Hours

Academic journal article Pennsylvania Literary Journal

24 Hours

Article excerpt

We open on a normal American living room.

Family photos lined up on the mantle, a Purple Heart

In its frame. But then we zoom

Closer. Splashed across the wall, like abstract art,

A bloody splatter.

You wonder what's the matter.

A kill team from an unnamed Mideast state

Has slipped into the U.S.

To search for sleeper cells, who secretly await

Activation. It's them not us.

What a TV fantasy. You're asked to imagine

A mushroom cloud

Blooming over New York City, as Cheney did in

Pushing for the war in Iraq. Or that a crowd

Of desperate refugees

From seven, banned Muslim countries

Could pose an existential danger.

They could be in your neighborhood, that stranger

On the bus. They could be anywhere.

They're the stuff of nightmare.

You let them in, whoever they are,

And see what happens? …

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