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Tuesday, August 23, 2016


by Jay Sizemore

Can you hit the water like a knife,
so sharp and so quiet
it remains oblivious to the stabbing?
          No somersaults by choice.
          Every building a potential grave,
          a rubble of tombstones disarrayed.

Can you run faster than death,
with a nation of gasps
riding your shoulders and spine?
           Here, a gold medal for a sunrise.
           We wipe the blood from our eyes.
           We dig our children free of debris
           and carry them like bombs.

Are you sure you picked the right God?
Has the arrow loosed itself
from behind your ear
and found the center of the universe?
Doesn’t the ocean sound like applause?
           There are so many that are lost.
           Their names vanish like landscape details
           pulled further and further away.
           This fog makes blind strangers of us all
           bruised bodies hurting to be touched.

Is the world watching?
I’ve balanced my entire life
upon a beam no wider
than the average human foot.
I’ve turned myself into a compass,
a needle floating inside a leaf.
I’ve conditioned my frame,
hardened my senses
through repetition,
becoming an instrument
of precision
lifting fighter jets
up over my head.
Will you fold my indiscretions into a flag,
while a black man bites the curb,
and forgive me for being great?
             Stare into his eyes.
             Dark as polished stone,
             the blank gaze
             of a shell-shocked child,
             his blood dried to his cheek
             like an unwanted birthmark
             not given at birth.
             It’s no mistake that the human heart
             is larger than a grenade.
             Are you sure you picked the right God?

Jay Sizemore writes poetry and fiction. He has been  published in places such as Rattle, McNeese Review, Jabberwock, and Crab Orchard Review. He lives in Nashville, TN.