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This lovely little verse fluttered down unto me like a cursing rabid locust drunk on whiskey with a black heart. War news on TV meets online holiday shopping, and voilà, a poem that I hope will be rendered moot soon.
by Robert Fanning
Today another flag-covered box arrives
on my porch, as they do weekly, without fail,
filled with what my income tax has bought.
Lifting the box — heavy today! —
to the Fed Ex man, driving off with all
his other deliveries, one for each household
down our quiet street. Grabbing my knife
to slit the taped top, I can't
a little giddy. Foolish, I know, there's no
holiday surprise here — after all, each
of these gifts I bought. Inside my box
today: somebody's shattered watch,
the bent rim of a bike wheel, a torn page
of Baghdad's daily news, a Marine's
bloodstained glasses, half of a
leg with a striped sock and an untied blue
canvas shoe still on. Not bad.
But maybe I'm a little jaded, because
a couple days ago I heard a lady in hysterics
a few houses down, running from door to door
like she'd just won The Price is Right,
hoisting her spoils: what looked to me like
nothing more than a charred chicken breast,
which she claimed was a terrorist's ripped-out
heart. Now that's getting your
Robert Fanning, author of The Seed Thieves (Marick Press, 2006) and the forthcoming American Prophet (Marick Press, 2008). For more information, visit robertfanning.com.
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