Volume 32, Number 2

Civic Duty

We hear the shooting of citizens
In the street one block over
From our apartment complex.
Twelve units. Thirteen, if you count
The never rented one room sitting off
By itself, barely under our roof.

It is a formal shooting.
Multiple guns, all fired as one.

We cannot see from here
If they use a wall or use
The street itself or the sidewalk,
Nor what, if anything, they do
With the bodies afterward.

We are too far away

To hear whether they read charges
Or make accusations. We do not
Know if they are using multiple teams
Or simply have an abbreviated
Firing squad procedure. We assume
From the pace and slow movement
Of the noise that they are taking
Everyone in turn. We
Set out extra food for our cats,
And there are no dogs allowed
In our building. We wait our time.

—Ken Poyner