Chancellor Florida State Poets Association
Florida Poet Laureate Volusia County
Winner of 2011 American Poet Prize
Pushcart Prize Nominee 2020
Best of the Net Nominee 2021
Smiling at the Executioner
Reject your sense of injury and the injury itself disappears. ― Marcus Aurelius, Meditations
As if the open barrel were a lotus;
its roots anchored in mud.
by murky water, it submerges
and reblooms: petals like crystal
glazed and without residue.
As if you never felt something move:
no welcome and prescient ache,
no sudden flexing, no cycle taking shape.
No memory. No calendar. No yield –
because you are the bullet’s shield. As if
you have nothing to lose. As if all that you have
learned to love: the beating heart; the mythic glove
of a palm blooming in the womb; the scent that follows
touch – is suddenly dust. Just the open-grinned,
white-toothed stare down this time;
the stayed and steady practice on your knees
of mastering someone else’s pleas.