xxHow bad to

be the one in

xxthe center, the


one aflutter in billows

xxof fabric and

bellows from the gut


xxas the blood

runnels toward the gutter

 xxand bits of


skull litter the ground

 xxlike the cracked

halves of a ruddy


xxnut. No, how

much better to be

xxthe one standing


cool and unsullied on

 xxthe curb, dressed

in respectable drabs, busily


xxnot getting caught.

How much better it

xxis than being


in the center to

xxbe the one

who fired the shot.



Stephen Kampa is the author of three collections of poetry: Cracks in the Invisible (2011), Bachelor Pad (2014), and Articulate as Rain (2018). His work was included in Best American Poetry 2018. He teaches at Flagler College in Saint Augustine, FL.