The Firing Squad
by Tim Carpenter

Outside society is busy,
the shepherds of the world
are counting their sheep, and the sheep
are counting on the shepherds,

But here in the bar it’s slow,
I’m writing this on a napkin
with a pen the bartender
was kind enough to give me.

Earlier I had a conversation
with a stranger
about how he had lost his job
and hadn’t told his wife—
he was afraid to face the firing squad—
We were going to buy a house,
he whined.

Now I’m imagining him
against a wall, blindfolded,
the rifles steady and ready to fire,
his wife standing by.

Her arms are crossed
and from the look on her face,
she means business.

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