Confidence, 2003
by William Briggs

As the pen is raised and then lowered to create a signature,
the video on the evening newscast
records the curve of a brilliantly white cuff
suddenly extending from a dark sleeve
of an elegantly tailored suit.

Soon an aide removes the transformed document.
Bureaucratic gears that drive a
chain of command are set in motion.
Reporters begin to file out of the room.

Unobserved and unrecorded,
at a designated time in a moonless night,
thousands of miles distant
and in a world so dissimilar
as to be from another era,
are the black curved steel projectiles

suddenly extending from the sky
above an alleyway where a ten year old
sweet potato vendor lies covered
in his thin blanket,
eyes flickering to a half-finished dream
in which he is laughing, jostling
in a makeshift game of street soccer
even as his slight body
extends as a quiet arc
in the shelter of a stone alcove.

But on this particular night
he has curled up to remain forever
in the still arms of nothingness.

Just hours earlier, the confident killer abruptly stood at his desk,
winked at a reporter while ignoring her uninvited question,
and then reached to unnecessarily adjust his perfectly knotted tie.

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