History as Addendum and Night Terror (Acquisitio)

John A. Nieves | Poetry

“We’ll cover up the cover-ups and move on.”
—Robert Pollard

I’m wearing my thin invitation
on my already thin sleeve. The door
prize is to peek into the cordoned-
off crowd, to see the mourners or
revelers or faint fingers tracing
the secret sigil that keeps us all

away. It is always this dream I wake
from, always some exclusion on a humid
afternoon with no sun, too quiet to be

a wedding, too odd to be some sincere
remembrance. There are children’s
voices, but they’re not in eyeshot. Red trees
sag threateningly toward gray grass
as if to taunt it with color. The stanchions
are strung with hemp cord stained

from use. The whole affair smells
like the inside of an old hat. My hands
blister and bleed and shake.