Emptied by Kenneth P. Gurney

He stole a pickle from a glass jar.
It was just before Ash Wednesday.
The first mouthful crunch snapped our attention
to the far end of the bar where he stood.
Pickle brine ran down his fingers.

He never made his escape.
My offer to pay the dollar made no difference.
My offer to pay five dollars made no difference.
His funeral starred wailing family members.
The casket revealed his face reconstructed into grace.

That bar burned down the following week at four a.m.
No one was injured. No one was trapped upstairs.
There was no insurance policy.
There was no rebuilding the bar owner’s livelihood.
An angry street justice halo failed to prove an eye for an eye worked.

I hung around for a month and a little more.
Each side added indignant weights to the scales of justice.
The scales of justice teeter-tottered trying to find new balance.
I found an uptown priest willing to place me on a getaway bus.
The great plains rolled by for hours until I reached the Rockies.

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Kenneth P. Gurney lives in Albuquerque, NM, USA with his beloved Dianne. His latest collection of poems is Stump Speech (2015). He runs the poetry blog Watermelon Isotope. His personal website is at kpgurney.me.


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