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If it had happened all at once

like a curtain falling swiftly

and blotting out the light,

if they had severed our choices

with the flash of a blade

both sudden and bright,

or leveled our lives

with some artillery shell’s

whistling explosive flight,

if they had slapped blinkers

on our eyes, narrowing our vision

to all they claimed was right,

we would have raised an alarm,

cried out in protest and

summoned the will to fight.

Yet each turn of the screw

that tightened the bonds on

our lives was ever so slight,

we barely noticed the loss

of our freedoms and the

limits on our sight.

Now we wait in the shadows

of a thickening dusk where

all cats are black or white,

and a bare reflection of

the sun’s last rays

heralds a fascist night.

Bruce Boston is the author of forty-seven books and chapbooks, including the novels The Guardener's Tale and Stained Glass Rain. His writing has received the Bram Stoker Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Asimov's Readers Award, and the Grand Master Award of the Science Fiction Poetry Association. You can read more about him at and see some of his previous work in our archives.
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