Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2016  Vol. 15 No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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After the War Game

1 Gypsy Meets Sparky Outside the War Game
Outside the game are miles
of barbershops boot repair
shops and today Tommy is
cooking chili. Come on over
and join your buddies: Sparky’s
here Whiskey’s waiting.
In the back room men banter
hard, smoke and laugh
hard Come on in they
guffaw calling me the
Marxist-Muslim ha and I
say (half girlishly because
that’s the way in) I want
to hear your version of what
happened there can I
take notes? Tommy looks pissy
Sparky says oh yeah ha that notebook
of yours no way this is old boys
talk and we’re recording
you and then one of them laughing
pulls a .45 out of the drawer this
is loaded They look at me
this is when we inside the rough
ongoing joke now wink.

2 Conversation After, Between Tommy and Gypsy
   (A Soldier and an Interloper Speak)

They had no use for you, kid,
and they wanted you
dead. You’re
all questions; you’re no

answers. The word
was out; they knew the dark
part of you you

keep hidden. Break this one
until she hardens. You were the fly
in the punch bowl. They want you shot
& we are more than family. Tommy,

you and I sit at this checked tablecloth,
drinking black coffee, eating
biscuits and gravy, while you show

me old photos of your dad
in his brass, while you ask your
wife if she wants a bowl. War
somewhere, the year 2014. And I

am broken, and you are
broken and the August light falls
mellow across the pot of stew,
and the mewling kitten and the acres
of long leaf pine.  

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