Homeless Tent City Vanishes Fast But Many Who Lived There Didn’t Go to New Center — By Michael Lasater

Slow-motion suicide, you might think –– turning away

from shelter freely offered.  It is so cold.

But these are the invisible citizens of a desperate country.

Here time is a disease –– a merciless subtraction

not just of days but of dignity, of usefulness.

A fired oil drum becomes the altar of communion ––

here you may make an offering of what you were,

what you are not, what you never will be.

The cold steals your name, replaces your soul ––

The remembered sun alone promises salvation.

Surely spring will return and it will be ours.

Surely spring will return and we will be whole.


You and I walk up Michigan on a night

brutal even for so late in December.

On the museum steps, the lions –– a dying species

wreathed in strange celebration –– stare at our passing.

~ Michael Lasater

Hutchinson native Michael Lasater is Professor of New Media at Indiana University South Bend. With degrees from Oberlin, Juilliard, and Syracuse University, he has performed with ensembles including the Metropolitan Opera, produced documentaries on poetry, and currently exhibits art video internationally. His poetry has appeared in Kansas Time + Place.

James Benger is a father, husband and writer. His work has been featured in several publications. He is the author of two fiction ebooks: Flight 776 (2012) and Jack of Diamonds (2013), and two chapbooks of poetry: As I Watch You Fade (EMP 2016) and You’ve Heard It All Before (GigaPoem 2017). He is a member of the Riverfront Readings Committee in Kansas City, and is the founder of the 365 Poems In 365 Days online poetry workshop and is Editor In Chief of the subsequent anthology series. He lives in Kansas City with his wife and son.


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