Three Poems by Jessica Wiseman Lawrence with Art by Fabio Sassi

Fabio Sassi (c) 2015

Mr. Future President

Mr. Future President, you will be a puppet

of the corporations that bought you.

Not just you, Mr. Right-Now candidate,

prepping for your run.

Every wanna-be “leader” then and next

is and will be bought and paid for.

There are many options to you, Mr. Future President.

If you need that commercial to run at dinnertime,

support Monsanto, while you ask the housekeeper to

buy your children organics the rest of us can’t afford.

When ours get cancer from the processed food,

of course we’ll be bankrupted by the treatments,

(or be refused altogether),

because some Mr. Future President was courted

by Glaxo-Smith Kline for that ad online.

The one with the picture of him and puppy he didn’t keep,


Need a billboard, Mr. Future President?

Contract with Pearson’s standardized test products.

Throw another public school teacher under the bus,

Send your children to private schools.

Shame the rest of America for not working hard enough.

What’s that?

Gas just went up seventy-five cents per gallon?

Oh, you’re very clever, Mr. Future President…

Maybe it’s not about ad bucks –

what if you want to dig up scandal on an opponent?

Find the biggest corporation you can find. Tell them you’ll let them

fuck the rest of us as long as you can live in that ridiculous white thing for a while

(please don’t fool yourself into thinking you’ll have power) those who bought you

will be making the decisions.

They’ll give you their money

All you have to do is give them your country

(you bastard).

Fabio Sassi (c) 2015
Fabio Sassi (c) 2015

The Fluidity of the Foam

It is considered most efficient to control the population of chickens with water-based foam that contains the same chemicals as the foam in fire extinguishers. Thousands of gallons of this substance are pumped into warehouses filled with floor-raised chickens. The foam covers them, and they are drowned within it.

Thirty thousand chickens

believe it is another day

to sit in wait wing to wing

at their broiler farm home.

Thirty thousand chickens

have never been outside

or walked more than one foot

at a time at their broiler farm home.

Thirty thousand chickens

hear a noise and feel

a strange wet at their feet

that grows from talon to smooth,

white, soft, feathered chest

at their broiler farm home.

One of the first advertisements for the chemical boasted “Foam Alone is all you need!” The bubble size is regulated by the US Department of Agriculture, as is the fluidity of the foam. The Department states that the chickens appear to feel no pain and have no awareness of what is happening, evidenced by the fact that they do not attempt to fight


for their lives.

Fabio Sassi (c) 2015
Fabio Sassi (c) 2015

Not Perfect Like it Could Have Been

June 17, 2015

Janet, a high school senior, rolls her eyes and shakes

her head but can’t help but smile.

her eight-year-old sister texts again, asking about going

to a movie when summer break starts –

any excuse to use the iPhone she got for Christmas.

December 17, 2014

Pink, like she wrote

on yellow notebook paper. She stuck it to the fridge.

It was perfectly arranged and level, parallel with two report cards,

with her favorite Seaworld magnet, turned up at the edges midnight fading to sky blue.

I want a pink iPhone for Christmas, and a gift card for apps. And a collar and leash for Lucy.

She wrote it with a pink pen, but the ink was orange against the yellow. She hated that.

She thought about how the pink turned to orange during the walk to school.

June 17, 2015

Lucy, her dog, wearing a pink collar,

is waiting at a lovely suburban home

on the lovely street where nothing bad is supposed to happen.

Their mother is working downtown, and she casually glances

at the frame on her desk.

She looks at the picture of her daughters goofing off, touches the glass with one finger, and smiles.

Her father got off early today after his meeting. He is in the backyard, grilling, looking down at his steaks. It is perfect. Aren’t they perfect?

It should have been perfect this summer. Just like this and them.

But of course it is not. It never will be. This June is not real; it’s

not perfect like it could have been.


December 17, 2014

An eight-year-old girl wrote a Christmas list,

stuck it to the refrigerator with her favorite magnet,

thought about how the ink turned orange, walked to school with her sister, and was shot to death during math class.


Jessica Wiseman Lawrence studied creative writing at Longwood University, receiving her Bachelor of Arts and participating in the Longwood MFA program. You can find her recent work upcoming or published in Origins, Antiphon, and Third Wednesday, along with many others. She lives in rural central Virginia, where she is an office manager by day.


Fabio Sassi makes photos and acrylics using tiny objects and what is considered to have no worth by the mainstream. Fabio lives and works in Bologna, Italy. His work can be viewed at