by Kyle Hemmings

After each piece cancelled the other

the generals folded up their checkerboards,

declared to the homeless that the park

was now an open city, returned to their

hermetically sealed lives of solitary existenz.

In mirrors they checked themselves

for missing parts. From balconies

they flung Molotov cocktails

at high-flying birds. In empty parlors

they aimed guns at their heads

that fired only blanks.


They donated artificial limbs

to cabaret girls who wore

black eye-patch for effect,

who continued to croon

for their fathers,

girls who could no longer dance

without a cane.