You speak of Dreams as if they’re expected. Out my window
planes fly loud & low, bombs descend & burst; lowered onto
Momma’s head the way heavy things are meant to tumble.
Concrete & clothes. Carpet & skies. Black smoke scatters to
the blue like incense burned before the Prayer. I have four
walls around, a roof above; machine guns out my door spit
sparks. The Pathogen infects like a forest fire; firing at Daddy
for his use of voice & concern for his wife; lodging blood
through lungs & air into pores; his ribs splintered by bullets
like bleached trees sprouting from mud skin. I have no home.
A structure. A fence to keep the Dream alive—for you who can
read this, for you whose skin changes red when embarrassed
—look away; cover your ears; reject those in need of your
shelter, or risk the Dream’s unraveling.
It was a dark and stormy night when Joe Ballard decided to become a writer. He is an undergrad at Marylhurst University; trying to catch up on sleep while simultaneously meeting all of his deadlines has become his go-to super power (coffee plays an important role too). Joe thanks everyday the Marine Corps for forcing him to grow up, his wife for making the hard times more enjoyable, and his son for teaching him to play a little more often. This is his third time being published.