each step a stumble, each yellow heartbeat the scent
of the earth pouring life into the dirt like a carnival
spreading into town and taking over the power wires,
lighting up all the homes, taking over the streets, sewers,
barber shops, taking over the playgrounds where kids used to
roll in the dirt, no longer, now just heartbeats pouring
into the sandboxes, dusty and cold in the sunlight,
far from the schools, from the homes, a little
sandbox on the plains, yellow sand mixing red
with the last blood of the last dog the madmen
will ever shoot before they cry to their mother’s headstone
and beg for one more bullet to do the job right—
unanswered prayers to the great deaf-mute in the sky
by Chris Lawrence
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