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"Flicker" By Robert Pfeiffer

“And would it have been worth it, after all…” - Eliot

You wake in the middle of the cold night,

not with a start, like when you were a child

and had snuck a horror movie or two,

but with an emergence into terror.

You lay in bed, shift sides, flip your pillow,

try everything you know – white noise, whale calls –

before it’s too late and you just give up,

head downstairs, make coffee, and scroll the news.

It’s just Tuesday – same shit, day in, day out.

Ceiling white and smooth. Headlights prowl outside,

slide over the bed. There is no comfort.

Your wife moans. You wish you could’ve done better.

You hope it’s enough. Try to breathe. Lay down

your dreams. You were never meant for greatness.


Robert Pfeiffer received his MFA and PhD in Creative Writing from Georgia State University. His first collection of poems, Bend, Break, was published in 2011 and his second collection, The Inexhaustible Before appeared in 2018, both by Plain View Press, Austin, Texas.  Individual poems have appeared in journals internationally such as The Connecticut River Review, Indefinite Space, Iodine Poetry Journal, The Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, The Flint Hills Review, Freefall Magazine, The Fourth River, and The Concho River Review. He has been a featured poet on Melodically Challenged on WRAS radio and is currently a professor of English at Clayton State University. He lives in Decatur, Georgia with his wife, daughter, and their two dogs.

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