Angel Ashes

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School library at noon –
skipping out on lunchroom camaraderie,
rather spend this time flipping through anthologies
of poetry that sticks to my bones and
stones my heart. The analogy
would be: a cemetery roamed by a lone zombie
passed over by Izrail. Well, this library
has more than a few zombies who wear their habits
shyly, outcast by soft-spoken personalities.

My friend, seeking my apology for an earlier argument,
is the exception.

New scenario:
Kicking through the doors: Two unlearned classical liberals
who also oppose the mandatory lunch program,
equating public schools with bullying pogroms.

One, with a shotgun, aims it dead,
blasts through the librarian’s head.
His companion enters the labyrinth of shelves,
chasing the undead who want to preserve their selves.
Me, I hide under my table
as if this is a tornado drill.
Glass shatters, blood spatters;
hollers, screams, and laughs might make a blind one
mistake this as hilarious.

Apparently it is to the two delirious
students in trench coats ignoring none.
My time has come to run –
looking for a path clear.
My best friend, dear, shot by the spineless,
aiming for her vertebrae.
The bangs still reverberate in my ears as I take off
for the direction most silent:
A back corner, sunlit.

Something clicks –
I plop to my knees.
“Turn around slowly.”

Each eye staring down a barrel.

“Give the right answer, we’ll end this quarrel:
You believe in God?”

Shaking uncontrollably, can’t nod.
The gun is fired
from a lawful sharpshooter outside the window.

Twenty-four kids killed. Only one left undead.
The police wrap me in blankets, asking me . . . . I can’t hear
beyond uncounted shots ringing, one inquiry still stinging.
Asked by Adam, I give the answer to bless.
One word: “Yes.”

Don’t tell,
passing from this day, I only roam alone
till I kiss Uriel.

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