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by Charles F. Thielman

blue palms beating on the skins of city hives.
He twitches inside a firefight broadcast live

from the rainforests of his subconscious,
barking orders in his sleep. Snipered awake,
he crouches in double shadow between bed and wall.

He breathes deeply in, then out, slow, steady.
Fingering his imagination’s trigger, he dissolves
night-clad demons, then visualizes

a sun-warmed hamlet, teenagers flirting
and day-dreaming, three clean white blouses
drying in a light-filled breeze.

Preparing for a Friday at work,
he stretches six foot of solo in a doorway,
then readies himself in a mirror.

His true eyes opening without faith
in the ruins, apartment air striated
by the echoes of a lover’s last words,

needs clawing out of the grave
of one dream. Guttered candle
in a can at the curb.

Born and raised in Charleston, S.C., Charles Thielman moved to Chicago, was educated at red-bricked universities and on city streets. He worked at a Tripler Medical Center outpatient clinic helping wounded veterans. He is good friends with 2 Vietnam veterans, and his father spoke closely of leading the first Army Corps of Engineers company into Nagasaki after Japan’s surrender. Thielman is a loving grandfather for five free spirits!

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