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“Red Laser”

Volume 8 | Spring 2018

by Ben White

                                                        The welcome home was full
                                                        Of empty symbols – 
                                                                    Yellow ribbons,
                                                                    Smiles,
                                                                    Hugs,
                                                                    Routines,
                                                                    Peace.

He enters school with exit wounds
Unseen sitting
                 In the corner desk
                 Jaws hardening
                 Watching the door
                 The windows, the room;
                 Alert, always alert,

And the professor’s red laser pointer
Power-points
                 Cultural Anthropology 
                 101 Lecture slides,
                 Not noticing 
                 The focus;
                 The details.

Intensity inhales anxiety,
Exhales slow-squeezed
                 Oscar Mike sights,
                 Conditioned,
                 Targeted, 
                 Targets
                 Lit up.

The classroom desert deserted, 
The class over,
                The students gone
                The professor smiling,
                Do you have questions?
                See you next time?
                Are you okay?
 
Yes, he says, okay,
Next time.