American Violence
by Wyn Cooper

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If I jumped from my chair, crossed the room
In three giant strides, fists clenched--
And on the third stride he began to rise,
The cigarette falling slowly from his fingers,
The most helpless man on earth--
It would not cross my mind to stop, just
As it would be wrong merely to scare him:
By my second stride he knows what's coming
And he knows he will take it.
There are people in the room and we can't let them down.
What would they think if I shrugged and walked away?
What would they say if he sat back down,
Picked up his cigarette and began to smoke?
He looks at me and there's no turning back.

"American Violence" appears in THE COUNTRY OF HERE BELOW.


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The Redneck Review 2007