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Thursday, December 17, 2015


by Zev Shanken

Image credit: Gregory Ferrand for Education Week


Then the good guy reaches for his hidden gun,
cries, “Take that, you wicked terrorists!”
After the commercial, he kills them all,
speaks modestly on the Evening News
about just doing his job as a citizen.


Will Kane's new wife threatens to leave him
if he breaks his promise
and goes after Frank Miller. Kane says,
“Seems I gotta do this.” Loads his gun.
She leaves, but when she hears shots,
runs back and shoots a bad guy herself.


A student I don't know walks into my class,
shouts an obscenity, turns and runs.
I give chase. Three flights down the stairs,
he stops, out of breath. I ask him his name.
No answer. I ask for his ID. No answer.
I demand that he come with me to the dean.
He doesn't move. The brat is damn lucky
I left my gun at the ranch.

Zev Shanken is a retired teacher of English and Film at High School for Health Careers and Sciences in Washington Heights, New York City. His chapbook, Al Het, was published by Blue Begonia Press, Yakima, WA, in 1996. He is a member of brevitas, an on-line poetry group devoted to the short poem.