Size / / /

Talk of the Gnome Liberation Movement

fails to give the gnomes sufficient credit.

Imprisoned in the crowded quarters

of front yards, guarded indifferently

by deer, ducks, and flamingoes,

they often decide themselves

when it's time to escape.

In earliest morning,

before the paperboys

can deliver the day wrapped in plastic,

they steel themselves,

they steal away,

hopping over miniature picket fences,

and congregate in the parking lot

of the local Kitsch Mart.

There, as day comes with velvet

Jesuses and Day-Glo Elvi,

they stand and pray for deliverance.

Cars cruise by and pick up the girls in bikinis,

the matadors, and

the children with saucer eyes;

after dark, the vendors carry off the rest.

With the lot empty of cars,

the city lights dim

so the stars can come closer.

The saucer descends.

Other small men hustle the escapees

into the ship,

leaving the owners

of ornamental lawn collections

to puzzle over the mysterious bare spots

where the gnomes stood so long

the grass now appears almost scorched.




Duane Ackerson's poetry has appeared in Rolling Stone, Yankee, Prairie Schooner, The Magazine of Speculative Poetry, Cloudbank, alba, Starline, Dreams & Nightmares, and several hundred other places. He has won two Rhysling awards and a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. He lives in Salem, Oregon. You can find more of his work in our archives.
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