in any past age
I could have been burned
at the stake,
though I would have preferred
to be stoned.
all can be accepted
so long as you can find
the right grass
to be buried under.
I keep waiting for the robots,
the ones in the cartoons,
to rise up from Tokyo
like metal balloons,
and float from imagination
to the corner store,
where they will bag my groceries
or stomp upon my car.
The old man stepped out
from the optometrist's office,
vision blurred by drops in his eyes.
He walked passed the tall hedge
and sought to cross the street
not knowing the light had changed.
An electric company truck hit him,
and he lay there dead under the wheels
while the police and an ambulance came
to sort out who was who and what was what.
The driver was a former soldier
who had never killed a man before.
He stood there crying
until his boss told him to go home.
The newspaper boy saw it all
and testified so in court
where he had to relive a scene
that had haunted many of his dreams..
No one was convicted,
but those sturdy bushes were cut down.
They were silent until the end,
never confessing to any crime.
Now the corner is barren,
except for commuters waiting
in the frost for their morning bus,
stamping feet against the cold,
checking watches and passing time.
Bio: Joseph Farley edited Axe Factory from 1986 to 2010. His books and chapbooks include Suckers, For the Birds, Longing for the Mother Tongue, and Waltz of the Meatballs.