obelisks (dreams & memories)

“How much loneliness the truth can cause sometimes.”
Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

the first night you are away
i dream about you

excitedly you are telling everyone
you are going on study away

for a year

you speak to others as if i am not there
as i would not be while you are away

once before there was us
and i was the one leaving

you startled me sitting in my car
you out of breath from chasing me

just to wish me a safe trip
just to let me know you would miss me

this was well before us or any hope of us
so i could not step out of the car to hug you

i am not sure what to do with dreams
i am not sure what to do with memories

they rise sometimes like monuments
on the horizon of our minds and regrets

giant human-made spires reaching to heaven
telling us where to turn our eyes in hope

tekhenu you whispered in my ear

but i could not tell if this was a dream
i could not tell if this was some dim memory

because it stood so tall and so heavy
i could not move for hours

— P.L. Thomas

war in the time of commas

so many of the wars
seemed senseless in retrospect

all of them in fact

but it was the war eliminating commas
that proved to be most ridiculous

all the lives and limbs lost
to settle a matter of mechanics

who manufactured all those land mines
who manufactured this maze of rules

do you recognize me standing here
like an oxford comma hidden in a fist

this one-armed human trying to pause
our never-ending apocalypse of grammar

— P.L. Thomas

Written by

P. L. Thomas, Professor of Education Furman University, taught high school English before moving to teacher education. https://radicalscholarship.wordpress.com/

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