a circle of reason / a proof that cannot
be proved or disproved / a mad mixture /

a template for order / cast, shaped, readymade
and launched / requires immediate

response (response must have no minor
errors) / a distrust, a witch hunt,

an elaborate dance / behind the scenes /
eyewitness testimony / no discussion

of the shortcomings / a lying
song; a hunch gone wrong / the plunge

of an economy; the rise of a demagogue /
lurking, scheming, webbing / it spreads

like famine / birthed from drought /
it’s birther and denier / the death of science /

a plot / a hoax / a code / a cover-up /
it spawns movements / knee-jerk / whatever

works / the uncited / the alt-right /
a need served / epistemic,

existential, self-defeating / off the cliff,
a riff, an election rigged / the rewritten,

the staged, the misplaced / towers that never fell /
a genocide erased / the Evil Incarnate /

the Machiavellian-slick / the mouse’s click /
a spiral into alienation and anomie /

a sense-making in a world otherwise
confusing / otherwise good people.


Author’s Bio

Janine Certo is the author of ELIXIR, winner of both the New American Poetry Prize and the Lauria/Frasca Poetry Prize (New American Press and Bordighera Press, forthcoming 2021) and IN THE CORNER OF THE LIVING, runner-up for the Main Street Rag Poetry Book Award (2017). A winner of Nimrod International Journal’s Pablo Neruda Prize for Poetry, her poems appear or are forthcoming in The Cincinnati Review, The Greensboro Review, New Ohio Review, Poetry Northwest, Shenandoah, and others. She is an associate professor at Michigan State University.




This poem was originally published in Vallum issue 18:1 Invisibility