the town of retired war criminals


As you walk along the wide slow street at dusk

you see him sitting in his chair; sometimes he waves,

warding off questions with one hand

while calmly taking notes with the other

for an alternative history of everything.

If masks could make us tell the truth,

then his would still be hung behind the door;

no one believes his name is what he says

or that he made his money just selling shirts.

When he talks, there’s no panic of language

in the face of what he might have done;

he’d tell it very clearly if he chose.

Most likely he’s planning it all again,

cutting out the errors that let them down last time,

investing his thoughts at compound interest

like killing flies with needles one by one.

As you walk along the wide slow street at dusk

you hurry just a little,

trembling like a note held too long,

but his hand on the chair rest is steady.

Published in Abridged

Artwork by Liberty Abdey

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