Long Line. A Poem by M. A. Schaffner

It all comes together in the sprawl

within homes and shopping centers basking

in the artificial light and the sounds

we now spend half our lives in programming.
Call it a form of worship in which faith

awaits succeeding images on screens

displaying visions of a promised land presumed

to lie beyond the imagined lottery.
Except we know we deserve the numbers

by right of having dreamed them — like Heaven

for the true believer, who also sins

if only just to prove he doesn’t always.
Inside the car no natural sounds impose

but signs remind us the images are real,

though not always as compelling as the game

held in your hand, restarted when you die.
MAS at the Furnace
M. A. Schaffner has had poems published in Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Agni, and elsewhere — most recently in Hermes, Modern Poetry Review, and Pennsylvania Review. Long-ago-published books include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia juggling a Toshiba laptop and a Gillott 404.

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