MJ blathers

dark poet who loves to laugh


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excerpt from PAIRING

He did not hear the words, but he received the message. He sighed and looked back at the intricate nonsense of the cornice going nowhere. Growling deep in his gut and a hollow ache rising to his chest, he felt torn. The valid accusations of this woman he still loved. Or the well-being of the daughter he adored. He had wanted her to grow into the richness of this rural community his wife could not see. The eternal values of the earth and the courage of the people who depended on it. Without looking down, he picked up the dainty china cup and crushed it in his hands.

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shuffle

she watched her husband shuffle
from one farm chore to the next
with no sign of emotion
neither smile nor frown
neither snarl nor laughter
nor complaint
nothing
at the death of their daughter
he’d withered like autumn leaves
cut off from what
had sustained them
in the spring
he neither stirred
nor blossomed


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anthracis

compound 19, in 1979
has been overgrown
and surrounded by Sverdlovsk
in Central Asia
a small city of
workers intent
on their own
families, lives
but the message
of the missing filters
does not reach
the night shift
they cleanse
their regular production
of anthrax spores
deliberately made smaller
to reach into lungs
how could we expect
the deliberate makers
of agreed-against biological
weapons to tell civilian
doctors what they were up
against—to save lives
when their purpose
was to kill?