Suburbanites – Joe Ballard

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.

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