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John Davis Jr.

Biohazard Summer

The Great Day of His Wrath by John Martin

We endangered ourselves
because no one else would
in the soft-hedged suburbs
where clotheslines were banned.

Truth-or-daring by the lake
where hospital waste
was dumped, we choked
on smoke from contraband:

Lifted cigarettes and illegal
fireworks we’d found by luck
in all the wrong places.
Not unlike our hands

that didn’t know where to go,
they fumbled and fell
in splayed and spent messes
wherever they’d land –

used up in the worst
locations where red bags
and bed pans protruded
like freshly hung sheets in wind.


About the writer:
Ali Salzmann graduated with an MFA in Creative Writing from Texas State University, where she currently works as a Lecturer. She is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Austin Community College.

Image: The Great Day of His Wrath by John Martin (1789-1854). 77.3 x 119.3 inches. 1851. Public domain.

OJAL Art Incorporated, publishing since 2017 as OPEN: Journal of Arts & Letters (O:JA&L) and its imprint Buttonhook Press, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation supporting writers and artists worldwide.

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