American Tragedy
I mean each one of you to play a part
—Thomas Kyd, The Spanish Tragedy
Big Man will play a king, he fits the part, his father
all swaggering before him. A small woman comes in feathers
for her cue, not knowing the scene eats birds. 
 
A few children leap through like sheep but we have 
no hillside, only cardboard refinery, stage left. 
They hide deep in its gloamy sulk. 
 
Would you have us play a tragedy
in which we know the words unholy?
They come to our mouths formed and ready,
 
like a salute, a march of men, that brittle dance
they’ve formed in the front. The legs lift together,
so clean, they are all clean and such men as they twirl
 
their rifles gentle in their hands. More swivel behind, uniform
all over the set—no men but guns, in shining 
dark rotation, gorgeous, bringing down the house.
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