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.