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A Center

If others call you a maniac or a fool, just let them wag their tongues.

A Country Doctor

A gravely ill man was waiting for me in a village ten miles distant.

A Doctor, a Lawyer, and a Priest

The prisoners were ten ragged scarecrows wearing prison suits.

A Dream of Ease

I shoved them one by one, easy as pie yet with care, just shy of mercy.

A Friendly Round of Golf

“We’d be naive,” Crump went on, “not to assume that people are vile.”

A Horse Walks into a Bar

I sometimes forget I’m a horse. I’m also a man dressed as a horse.

A Human History in the Wilderness

My grandfather committed my grandmother to a mental asylum.

A Lebanese Feast

Lebanon’s dreams of a homeland were fading with every rocket launch.

A Marriage Contract

They went to pray for the dead. It was important to shed some tears.

A Matter of Appeal

Felicia knew why he was there. He was waiting. Waiting for her.

A Matter of Vocabulary

“We see you tryin’ to hide. Ain’t no use tryin’ to hide in God’s House.”

A Model Prisoner

A Partial History of Lost Causes

Chess was a humiliation that hung over him like a leper’s bell.

A Smile of Fortune

She favoured me with an even more viciously scornful “Don’t care!”

A Storyteller’s Story

Americans have always a kind of tenderness for cheat.

A Summer in Between

In a way she enjoyed the slow, sad feeling of letting it go.

A Theory and Other Poems

I have, in the long solitude of my body, asked for something else.

A Vacuum Is a Space Entirely Devoid of Matter

I needed a paycheck a lot more than I needed to be kissed.

Acceptance

However hard you try to make amends, they will still condemn you.

Accident

On my way to the airport I hit a Christian. This was in Arkansas.

Accounting

There was something in her voice, some awful, enduring fire.

After Saddam

He said he had come back to the prison because it was home.

Afterlife

Mostly he was in a hurry, so he’d just stick it in and away we’d go.

Afternoon and After

The event was an accelerator. So much matter crashed, vaporized.

Aim High Olongapo

From the flight deck Gray could see home, wherever that might be.

Alimony

I’m mourning in the armpits of a lover we once called a family friend.

All My Friends Are Sad & Bright

We’ve seen the news. We know the story. How even our bodies hurt us.

All the Girls Are Fat in Heaven

When you are sixteen and sixty-five pounds, you are all shadows.

Allegiance

“It was not wartime sentiment that moved me to ask you here.”

Alphabet City, 1985

Tony’d had guns pulled on him more times than he had toes.