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I Knew Kurtz Was Bald Before Conrad Said So

I can see the insides of their gums,
wiry automatons, I do not have time
to fear before they swallow me whole.

Tantalus, I ask you this— I ask you this, 
as you stretch your white arms, your 
long, long fingers and the pixels 

corral in front of our eyes. We’re 
financially freed and you sneer 
behind us because you know—

You know. As the bigs with the jowls
and the rattling Anglo-Saxon surnames
huddle, they inside-out their pockets 

and as they feed you, they swell you, 
you GROW and you swallow their
middle class whole in the name of some

twisted progress. Their business plans 
are your door knobs and they raise you
above their shoulders, no tribal wear—

just iron-seamed button-ups, ever white,
ever pristine, ties tightened around the 
esophagus, you let your profitable 

hand dangle knowing they will all cover for
you. And they will cover for you. Until there
is nothing left to cover. 

Just you.
Primeval god of the 21st century.

                                                                —Grace Yannotta

Grace Yannotta is currently in her senior year of high school in North Carolina. She has work published or forthcoming in Eastern Iowa Review, Night Music Journal, Anatolios Magazine, and Cardiff Review, among others.