Compelled to Silence




A dozen times to the hated zoo.
He has no new ideas. Chimps
gone mad in their enclosures
like humans on a bender.
All species throw their feces when bored.
He will never be one of those achieving
60 years of bliss. Already
his fingerprints have been wiped
from the house he lost in the proceedings.
If it were only batteries dying
in his phone and not the spirit guides
peeling off him one by one
as the snake of the world sloughs its skin.
But beneath the snake remains.
Then a request to end the visit early.
There are friends in need of texting.
A very public goodbye
among the balding fathers
hands investigating pockets,
jingling keys,
the gesture granting absence
long before it’s time to go.

In addition to an appearance in The Olive Press, Ian Randall Wilson‘s fiction and poetry have appeared in a number of literary journals including the North American Review, The Gettysburg Review and Alaska Quarterly Review. A short story collection, “Hunger and Other Stories”, was published by Hollyridge Press. His first poetry collection, “Ruthless Heaven”, was published by Finishing Line Press. He has an MFA in poetry and in fiction from Warren Wilson College and teaches fiction at the UCLA Extension. By day, he works at Sony Pictures in Los Angeles.R

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