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The security guard

A tall, sandy, young man
he loped over to us, friendly
like a golden retriever, came
to greet us at the slick USA chain hotel.
He knew we’d come for the hearing.
– I’m security to keep the peace,
not just for the judge, but you too.
worked ten years
a policeman
on the streets of Vancouver.
I saw things I don’t want
to remember.
I hate violence
I hope this hearing will be peaceful-
he turned to leave
-time to go in and get set up –
then
– Don’t tell them I said it
but, give them Hell
I get the creeps just thinking
about those nukes out there.
we left the sun and walked into our
shadows
to assemble
in the gloom of judgement
a dusty, sunless room
the “hearing officer”
a judge
with a mind empty of metaphor
crammed with legal minutae
his words were sharp silica,
erosion against our passion,
for him even our logic was
too remote,
our love of light, of life,
irrelevant
to the legislation.
assaulted by his
letters of the law,
we spoke and left.
we breathed again in the sun outside
said goodbye to
our peaceful guard
indifferent to our haste,
he talked

– once
I knew a Japanese woman
in Vancouver,
she had really
unusual tattoos,
one day
I asked her about them –
his words blew past me
as I tried to get away
going home.

then –
she told me –
these are
not tattoos
but
the pattern
of the
kimono
I was
wearing
the day
they
dropped
the bomb
on
Hiroshima

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