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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

15 10 33 28

by Steve Hellyard Swartz

Could be the lucky numbers in a fortune cookie but
They're not
What they are
Is one day's noted dead
Killed in Germany, Alabama, Iraq, Sri Lanka
We discover what the German teen was wearing
Combat black so it seems
We discover that the Alabama killer had tried but failed to land a job as a cop
We discover almost nothing about the killers in Iraq and Sri Lanka
Other than they had strapped bombs to themselves
In Las Vegas a man entered an ER and threatened to kill himself
The police were called and he was told to lower his weapon
When he refused, the cops shot and killed him
My mother told me yesterday that she thought her luck was turning
She said she didn't know why, she just did
In e-mails all around the world today
People east and west
Will relate the grisly details of the mass murders in Germany and Alabama and Iraq
and Sri Lanka
I'll call my mother this afternoon
She was eighty-three just the other day and she thinks her luck is turning
Isn't that something to be happy about?
Proof positive that it's never too late
When I call my mother today
I don't need a fortune cookie to know what she will ask me
She'll say my name, the name she's called me
For almost sixty years
She'll say my name as if I were still her little boy
And in a voice
A little too loud
With a little too much urgency
She'll ask of me:
What's the good news?

Steve Hellyard Swartz is a poet, playwright, and filmmaker. His poems have appeared in New Verse News, Best Poem, Haggard and Halloo, switched-on gutenberg and The Kennesaw Review. He has won Honorable Mention in the Allen Ginsberg Poetry Awards twice (2007 and 2008), The Mary C. Mohr Poetry Awards, and the Anna Davidson Rosenberg Poetry Awards. In 1990, Never Leave Nevada, which he wrote and directed and in which he co-starred, opened in Dramatic Competition at the U.S. Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.