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by Alan Britt

Guilt is like a bridle.
It swings you
from altar
to altar,
then swings you back
to the conventional feed bag
of wisdom,
leaving reptilian glyphs
on terrazzo floors
that tell you
where to bury
your discarded life
once you’re ground down
beneath a ten-inch heel.

Beyond that
I’m a complete moron,
but a moron
by choice, I say.

So, let air conditioners,
and cats,
and Egyptian streetlamps
vibrate a blood
so thick
so humid
that the raspy tongue
of an Italian grandmother
creates quite a stir.

Jesus should protect us
from eating flesh,
from eating life forms,
yet we dine
on his soul
at regular intervals.

I feel toxic love
for the white and gray cat.
I feel her solitude
like a sponge
through my shoulder blades.

I’d too carry
the weight of owls
and rats
in my dark pupils
if I could.

Governments lie sprawled
beneath a full moon.
Confederates sleep
against sheds and overgrown barns.
with bones of mercury
rattle in unison.

A single ball
penetrates a thick door
killing Jennie Wade instantly
as she bakes bread
for her family huddled
in the dark cellar.

The only civilian victim
of Gettysburg
flies to her death
like a torn and bloody swan.

So it goes—
dog clippers rattle their teeth,
Norway maples sprout
emerald parachutes
for the new spring,
while Bob Dylan
in the kitchen
laments middleweights and Methodist bells.

Until, finally, guilt curls up
like a mummified millipede
inside the black hole
of an arthritic carport brick
supporting one corner
of my chilly universe.

Posted by David Evans

David Evans, Feature Editor
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