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Tuesday, January 17, 2012


by John Palen

when a death squad came
people banged on pots and pans
jammed streetcorners

when a fighter pilot
strafed a schoolgirl by mistake
she jumped in a ditch

when village women
turned out, soldiers let them pass
shot them in the back

red yellow blue green
cotton over limbs and torsos
so easily riddled

tell me, Yogi,
what game is it that ain’t over
even when we win?

This is John Palen's third appearance in The New Verse News. His first collection of flash fiction, Small Economies, is forthcoming from Mayapple Press. His reviews of literary magazines appear in New Pages. A Central Illinois resident, Palen blogs about poetry and fiction at