As if the open barrel were a lotus;
its roots anchored in mud.

How undeterred
by murky water, it submerges

and reblooms: petals like crystal
glazed and without residue.

As if you never felt something move:
no welcome and prescient ache,

no sudden flexing, no cycle taking shape.
No memory. No calendar. No yield –

because you are the bullet’s shield. As if
you have nothing to lose. As if all that you have

learned to love: the beating heart; the mythic glove
of a palm blooming in the womb; the scent that follows

touch – is suddenly dust. Just the open-grinned,
white-toothed stare down this time;

the stayed and steady practice on your knees
of mastering someone else’s pleas.




Copyright © 2020  M. B. McLatchey. All rights reserved.
Published in  
Sky Island Journal,  Summer 2020

Editor's comment: ...the epitome of what we consider powerful poetry
to be. Vivid, palpable imagery saturates the perfect pacing of this
svelte, knife-like piece
.

Author's website: www.mbmclatchey.com
Smiling
at the
Executioner

Reject your sense of injury and
the injury itself disappears.
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations