Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
 print version
 download audio

New Civilian

The new law
says you can abandon your child
in an emergency room,
no questions asked.

A young father
carries his sleeping boy
through the hospital doors.

Later, parked at the boat basin,
he takes a knife from his pocket,
cuts an unfiltered cigarette in two,
lights the longer half in his mouth.

He was a medic in the war.

In his basement are five bronze eagles
that once adorned the walls
of a dictator’s palace.    

“New Civilian” was originally published in Home Burial (2012), and is used by permission of Copper Canyon Press.

return to top