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photo by Daniel Albanese | TheDustyRebel

Silencer to the Heart While Jogging Through a Park

       for TM


               I shouldn’t have to go here
with you: a bandit ties the farmer’s dog to a century

               oak by the untouched creek. You see human
interest piece, sunny & rounding out the evening news

               where I see eclipsed casket. Where I say released he will roam
the same radius. Surely, I don’t have to tell you there’s a gun

               semi-automatic & lodged in the black cherry thicket, but I do
have to tell you about the semi-automatic jail cell clanging

               open, not for me, because that’s just sound world-making.
I’ll say it like this: I don’t jog in the park with my blindsides

               shaded anymore. Look, here, through the spangled screen
door: there was once a kid, ordinary in every American leisure

               except one. I won’t name him. You’ll look away.
Again: there was too much Shepherd’s Pie, a slice of Apple

               & one sturdy carving knife. In damp air hung glints
of siren moon, few sirens, sleepy porch lamps blinking on

               & an ache for antacids that jogged a man
to the corner store, like puttering wind, then back over

               the town’s little blacktop hills near the park’s edge
where there was a shot street light & lots of wheezing

               over a bench, & there were three shadows, a pit bull
tied to the bench & a bulge in his gut

               that was a bulge in his gut, which
must’ve looked to one shadow like a box cutter & not

               a roll of Tums, & then there are, frankly,
too many black cherry thickets streaked with blood.

               Sometimes, I can barely walk
out into daylight wearing a cotton sweatshirt

               without trembling. & surely I don’t have to
tell you who gets put down, which one walks away.

Listen to Marcus Wicker read “Silencer to the Heart While Jogging Through a Park.”

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Marcus Wicker

Marcus Wicker is the author of Silencer and Maybe the Saddest Thing. His poems have appeared in the Nation, Poetry, and the New Republic. He is an associate professor of English at the University of Memphis, where he teaches in the MFA program.