Introduction to Conspiracy Theories


Men smoke cigarettes in the back rooms
of Roswell warehouses, full of boxes marked
“biohazard” and “do not touch.”

There is a mysterious woman in need of help
who leaves you a note saying her life is in danger
and can you help her hack this government web site

which lands you in the back of a grey van, no license plate,
with a gun against your head. You’re handed a passport
with someone else’s name and a wad of cash

but have lost all your memories. Good thing you have
a mysterious tattoo and this notebook in your own handwriting
to give you the most important clue: your own secret past,

a map to your darkest love. The Illuminati
have hidden a message for you in the dollar bills in your pocket.
Did you notice this whole poem is written in code?

And this poem has been nothing but a dream? Or purgatory?
Or a false recollection implanted by government operatives?
Please forget everything you’ve read. This poem will self-destruct.



Photo by Stefano Corso


About Author

Jeannine Hall Gailey is the Seattle-area author of Becoming the Villainess (Steel Toe Books, 2006) and She Returns to the Floating World (Kitsune Books, 2011) which is an Eric Hoffer Montaigne Medal finalist. Her poems were featured on NPR’s The Writer’s Almanac and on Verse Daily; two were included in 2007’s The Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror. Her work has appeared in The Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, and Crab Orchard Review; she reviews books for The Rumpus. She volunteers as an editorial consultant for Crab Creek Review and currently teaches part-time at the MFA program at National University.

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