Aesthetic // Distance by Lauren Busser

(in response to the Dutch Coronavirus Riots January 2021)

It doesn’t look real
Bold color and lights
a glossy veneer.
Peaceful, soft light
warm and inviting
next to police
in moto jackets
and helmets.
Cars are on fire,
mannequins lay
in the street.
People watch
in boxes with stone
and brick borders.
Damage is framed as art
to be aesthetically pleasing
worth of showcase,
easy to digest.
Almost like a movie set.

Lauren Busser is a writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. She is currently a graduate student at NYU where she’s pursuing her master’s in Integrated Digital Media and an Associate Editor at Tell-Tale TV. She has won multiple awards for her writing from the Connecticut Press Club. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Best Small, Litro, Menacing Hedge, Cotton Xenomorph, Popshot Quarterly, Cease, Cows, Mineral Lit Mag, and others. She tweets at @LaurenBusser and shares photos of dogs, knitted objects, books, and baked goods at @madamedefarge on Instagram. You can find more of her work at