Syntax Issue 10
Denver Syntax
{burn everything down and start over}
  adrian s. potter

Anymore, I cannot afford to invest in optimism.
My tongue no longer twists itself half-heartedly

around hope. The verbal motivation I once spewed
is a mouthful of thumbtacks, a mosaic of shattered glass

on my lips. In a backyard, my neighbor’s golden retriever,
all cuts and ribcage, slowly learns how to not choke himself

with his tie-down chain, his face downhearted by hunger
and neglect. He looks toward my window for help,

but I turn away with gin-blurred vision to watch clouds
gallop across the sky like alpacas, quietly loathing

the soft-barbed illusion of affluence that has lured me
to this cul-de-sac wasteland. If I was fluent in canine,

I’d ask him what could make our lives better,
the answer obvious to everyone but me,

like the patch of hair I always seem to miss shaving.
After barking out his suggestion, the dog, busy pissing

his soul out on a cottonwood tree, would pause,
tremble, then rejoice as I set fire to this world.