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THE WEAPON

Her stubbornness squeezes me
like wet ropes.
You might as well carve obsidian
arrowheads with your spit
as negotiate with a six-year-old.
First it was "Let me finish my juice!"
Now, the bus two minutes away, it's
"I don't want to go to school!"
An explosion severs the brittle air,
like lightning
hitting the ground a block away.
Hollow-point words
shatter her isinglass armor.
There is a bomb crater
where her face used to be.

By the time she gets off the bus,
she will have forgotten it
like a summer squall.
I will spend the rest of the day
smelling like gunpowder.

      — Doug Westberg