ancestors by Michael Haeflinger


here I am someplace in this massive shift

do you feel too across history?

you, in the past, are you with me?


in the spirit world things happen
we don’t see

that’s not such a big deal

in Arkansas things happen
we don’t see


spirit world is a term I learned
from a tv show I watched earlier

it doesn’t belong to me or mine

my people lived in mud houses
and died of head colds

if they believed in an afterlife
before the Romans got to them

I can’t name it


my people died of starvation
when the winter or the king
wouldn’t let up

they ate their meat well done

they dug the earth
for potatoes and metals

they lived to be thirty
until they lived to be forty

and so on

it’s magic enough,
this world

be afraid of the woods

with imagination


and here I am someplace in this massive shift

my world consists of uncompleted missions

bread lines, cars out the parking lot – believe me
when I tell you

beautiful geniuses starve, too

some of my people died
trying to escape

the living ended up here
inside me a thousand generations
of scrappers howling for their gods

living off the fat of the land

waiting for someone to pass the pitcher

waiting for someone to shut the blinds


Michael Haeflinger is the author of Low Static Rage (Blue Cactus Press, 2019). He lives in Tacoma, WA where he works for a literary nonprofit that teaches creative writing and printmaking to teens.

Leave a Reply