Have Mercy

I’ve gotten a lot
of mileage out
of the luxuries
of slaughter. I
swerved to hit
a collapsed bird
on the road today;
I’m not sure if it
was already dead
or not, but it certainly
couldn’t fly. It was
a puddle of a bird.
Meanwhile, several
police officers
stood outside of an indoor
soccer field staring off
into the distance
with their guns pointed
at a coyote. One of them
shot at it but it didn’t
move; the damn thing
was frozen. They shot
more at it. It continued
to wag its tail
mockingly. I don’t know anything
about my family history,
but I have a card
that says
I’m 25% Cherokee so I
get upset sometimes.
Eventually
the youngest officer
got sent over
to the animal and discovered
it was a scarecrow
with a couple of bullet holes
in its ass. Today
the news said
that 50 terrorist attacks
were prevented through
the surveillance of hundreds
of thousands of Americans.
I heard that
on the news in a restaurant
while I was eating
lunch. Today’s Featured Picture
on Wikipedia is
an Albatross. I admire
the brazen irony
of secrets. A few
of the officers
had missed and put
thumb-sized holes
in the dirt, so
there were ants scurrying
about confusedly, which
come to think of it
is pretty much how ants
always seem to get around.
I bet
they have a better plan
than they get credit for.
We’ve all got a little
torture in our blood,
but it’s a matter of
what side
our ancestors were on.
I never got
any money from the government
for being Cherokee
but that’s the first thing
people ask me
when they find out. It
was so cold
in the airconditioned
restaurant that I felt
uncomfortable, but then
it was so hot
outside that I didn’t want
to be there,
either. I don’t
look NDN.
I don’t look like
much of anything.
I can’t remember the last
time I looked
in the mirror. I hate having
my picture
taken. Most of us
have mercy every now
and again,
too. I wonder if it’s
too late to get some
of that money, though I
don’t really know whom I’d ask. I hope that bird wasn’t going to make it.

*

Franklin K.R. Cline‘s work has been published in Beechers, The Chariton Review, and The Wide Net. He lives in Kalamazoo, MI, with his fiancee, author Rachel Kincaid.

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