"poetry reading" by Steve Calamars

I walk into the convenience store.  I have a book of poems by Todd Moore and a snub-nose 38’ in the pockets of my pea-coat.  I can either select a poem
or the gun.  I go for the gun and pull it from a pocket in a single silvery flash.  The barrel is resting snuggly against the cashier’s forehead.  His face slips
into transparency and his eyeballs seem to shiver.  I extend my free hand, fingers open, palm up.  He opens the register and places a stack of green bills on my hand like a pedestal.  I pocket the money.  I cock the hammer of the 38’.  He stops breathing.  I slide the barrel from his forehead and squeeze the trigger two inches from his temple.  The bullet shatters a glass cabinet behind him filled with cigarettes.  I pocket the 38’ and pull out the poems.  I read him 2; short, fast, violent.  I pocket the poems and walk out.  As I go, I know the poems didn’t leave an impression, nearly as deep as the blistering white ringing in his ears—

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