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 Boy in a Boat (University of Alabama Press), Any One Man (Bottom Dog Books), The Trouble with a Short Horse in Montana (White Pine Press), and Starlight Taxi (Lynx House Press). A new book, Walking with Eve in the Loved City, has been selected by Billy Collins as a finalist for the 2018 Miller Williams Poetry Prize and will be publlshed in the spring of 2018 by the University of Arkansas Press. Work from that collection has appeared in Shenandoah, Pleiades, Rattle, Blackbird, The Southern Review, and elsewhere.


  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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