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(AR -15)

The recoils from this barrel

are not poems, though

their rhythms mimic verse

are not music though

their sharp staccatos cross-link

like the parts of scores --

a bass line locked in

conversation with

repeating chords.

Are not the ballets that

we paste upon our lives.

The smoking coda marks

another art: the smack

of rounds like cleavers parting flesh

forms sprawled or hunkered down

in panic by their desks

the splintered weekly scenes

we know so well by heart

at which we sigh

then proffer beige compassion;

soon depart.

Version first published in The American War Against Itself: An Anthology (Moonstone Press, June 2021)

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