(AR -15)


The recoils of 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 smoky 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 too well by heart


at which we sigh

then proffer beige compassion;

soon depart.

Version first published in The American War Against Herself:  An Anthology, Moonstone Press, 31 May 2021