“We have Always Lived in the Castle” by Tara Campbell

We have always lived within these walls,
this gleaming, shining castle on a hill,
a beacon held aloft for one and all
to marvel at, imagining the thrill

of breathing liberty and chipping gold
right off the pavement, listening rapt around
the rockets’ glaring red to legends told
about this land that brave adventurers found,

about these walls constructed eye for eye,
and bone for bone, one destiny stacked rough
upon the next, manifest, so high
there is no ceiling, no roof strong enough

to hold our keening misery inside
this castle, with kings throned on blood and pride.


Tara Campbell (www.taracampbell.com) is a writer, teacher, Kimbilio Fellow, and fiction editor at Barrelhouse. She received her MFA from American University. Previous publication credits include SmokeLong Quarterly, Masters Review, Wigleaf, Jellyfish Review, Booth, Strange Horizons, and CRAFT Literary. She’s the author of a novel, TreeVolution, and three collections: Circe’s Bicycle, Midnight at the Organporium, and Political AF: A Rage Collection. Her fourth collection, Cabinet of Wrath: A Doll Collection, is forthcoming from Aqueduct Press in 2021.

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