From Violence to Peace (Excerpt)

Twenty-eight shotgun pellets
crater my thighs, belly and groin.
I gently thumb each burnt bead,
fingering scabbed stubs with ointment.

Could have neutered me, made extinct
the volatile, romantic man I am.
“He’s dead,”
doctor at emergency room
could’ve easily told my wife that night.
Instead, “Soak him in a bath twice a day. Apply
this ointment to the sores. Here’s a month’s supply
of pain killers.” I remember the deep guttural groan
I gave, when the doctor pressed my groin.
                  Assured
I could still make love, morphine drowsed me
and in a dull stupor I don’t remember
police visiting my bed, or laughing so hard,
they scowled for a serious answer.
I howled a U.F.O. shot me along the Río Grande,
and they cursed and left.
Read the rest of the poem here.
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