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Friday, November 23, 2012


by M. A. Schaffner

"Decaying City" by FlatCap Illustration

Those without sons in penitentiaries
with money that they’ll never need for bail,
who schedule annual physicals on time
believing nothing bad can come of it,

may wonder at the ones who make their salads
or drive cabs in small towns and case pawn shops
for CDs to resell at flea markets,
or save pills from the emergency room

for when the pain stops and they can enjoy them.
Their grandfathers built the cities they know
in sordid sometimes dangerous decline,
connected to each other on highways

increasingly broken, or rails sagged by freight
searching for a promise or one big score,
aging fast and leaving their unused years
as a gift we have no one to thank for.

M. A. Schaffner has work recently published or forthcoming in The Hollins Critic, Magma, Tulane Review, Gargoyle, and Skirmish Magazine.  Other writings include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels, and the novel War Boys.  Schaffner used to work as a civil servant, but now serves civil pugs.