Charges

I wandered back to
the shop, gunpowder
and cement dust in
my hair, ’grabbed a cup
of burnt coffee and
listened to old Ben
Greenwood jaw a while.

He was tomcattin’
with some poor fool’s wife
in Meridian,
Mississippi, back
in the tarpapered
days of roadhouses
built on dirt levees.

I listened awhile
and nodded in all
the right places then
left him still talking
to grab cartridges.
Green ones have the punch
of a .22.

McElroy, he had
a partner in ’Nam
who would collect ears,
which didn’t bother
Mac till after work when
his wine would whisper
how fucked-up that is.

Acceptance is part
of pressing a gun
up against a rock
wall and pulling the
trigger. Sometimes nails
hit buried rebar
and come shooting back.

Or a big charge can
shatter the concrete
like a bomb. Most times,
however, they stick
in the rock like an
exclamation point.
Or a memory.

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