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Thank you 
for
visiting.......... .                       .
For the Sins of Mankind As We War Against Life Though We Ought To
War Against Death  -or- An Occurance On A Midnight Highway



I was about to bake a surprise supper
of loaves of rye bread and cajun black fish

when the news arrived by phone
with the strange voice speaking calmly

as if a telephone solicitor
asking about some poll

and I said, isn't this rather impersonal
to use the phone to notice me on this

and the voice said, SIR, your wife is dead
(with many others on the highways

hurrying home from tete-a-tete
without the unction of confession

no priest nearby
no-one stops

they drive by rubbernecked
slow to see who's who among the dead

as if all life warm and cold
were options for their gossip

or the blood and wrenched flesh
there for random entertainment of a few

I have seen them likewise after battle
stroll the field to comment inanely on the loss

of this
or that

as if every living thing-- man or beast--
was strange and alien to them)

SIR?  Sir, are you there?
And of course I am, always.

(with so many dead
the small-town crews

are understaffed
they blame the mayor

for such things
though we pay the tax).

Go away in dreams.
Do not be unpleasant in my day.

I am sorry said the voice.
I too am sorry for wasted supper

the arsenic of time
the poisoned loaf

so we might depart
together.
 
 

Previous publication in Poetry Tonight April 2000: poetrytonight.com] April 2000.

copyright John Horvath Jr

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