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The Saints Play: A Poem

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The Saints Play

I sit outside a coffee shop
on the corner of Race and Magazine.
A mile away the Saints play—
Monday night, blue lights flash
on my coffee cup, on the windows,
on the trees up and down
the block.  A silence like death
grips me as I walk toward cop cars.
A group of four citizens talk and laugh
as natural as rain.  The Saints play a mile away.
I move closer to the cops inside the yellow tape
strung between two telephone poles:
death hangs in the air like a breath
I can’t explain the passing of this soul
that inhabits my own.  Blue lights
flash off a bike frame inside the yellow tape
blue lights flash off faces of people
trying to ascertain what happened,
blue lights flash off a black shoe pointing up,
and that’s all I can see of the dead man
lying in the street
on the corner of Race and Constance.

I walk back to the coffee shop.
A friend eats pecan pie
as natural as rain.  The Saints play.
Blue lights flash on the sidewalk.
A man unlocks his bike chain.  
He says, “I feel sorry
for the Jaguar next to the kid
riddled with bullet holes.”
A girl stops at another table.  “Multiple gunshot
wounds.  Dead on arrival,”
she says. “I’m going around the corner
to get a better view.”
She leaves to see.  Human nature
as natural as rain.  The Saints play the Vikings
a mile away there is life in the streets.
Blue lights flash on everyone around me:
hands, arms, legs and faces.  
The Saints play a mile away;
it’s a Monday night of live excitement.
One block down, a fresh body lies dead
on the corner of Race and Constance.

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