a mind of fire and fieldstone
by Barry Ballard

Sometimes the conscience is bulldozered clean
like an African shanty-town where what
you loved is standing up outside of it
holding nothing against its heart but its own
two arms. The fire in the breeze isn't seen
for its hot palm and fingers offering up
nothing but ash for your memory, not the fist
wrenching the slate of truth to fieldstone.

No, your belief has made you comfortable
with graves. Already the sirens and crumpled
tin are entering the buzzing hive-
like cavity, hooking on to the syllables
of a stained water table, like a tainted well
of cruel words almost keeping the mind alive.

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