They Don’t Hate You Because You’re Different, They Hate You Because They’re Not

Houses in towns in the Midwest are built close together,
meaning when January winds scald raw the exposed skin
gusts travel in peristaltic waves. Spaces between houses
funnel a national anthem of snowfall and arcing drifts.
For months, everything is translated into Winterspeak.

In homes, to music, closing credits roll a disclaimer:
No animals were harmed in the making of this film.
But these citizen-animals are harmed, complicit
in their subjugation. Most have become fluent
in thousands of dialects of silence. However,

if history is to be trusted, soon the few will resist.
The horizon line will be radiant with grievances.
Squalls between structures will approximate voices.
There will be a surf in the air. A tide. Sun-cut waves—
some waves defiant as they break into less brilliant light.

Roy Bentley About Roy Bentley

Roy Bentley is the author of four books and several chapbooks. Poems have appeared in The Southern Review, Shenandoah, Blackbird, Indiana Review, Prairie Schooner, North American Review, and elsewhere, as well as the anthologies New Poetry from the Midwest and Every River on Earth. His collection of poems Nosferatu in Florida is currently in search of a publisher, having been a finalist for the New American Poetry Prize (twice), the Moon City Review Poetry Prize, the Gerald Cable Book Award, and the Anhinga Prize for Poetry. He has received a Creative Writing Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts (in poetry) and fellowships from the arts councils of Ohio and Florida. He lives in Pataskala, Ohio.


  1. Let’s hear it for Google, whose logo yesterday celebrated Steinbeck’s birthday, including icons of several of his most prominent novels!

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