Entering Dark Houses

Secure behind uniformed guard, palisade fence,
late afternoon spins atop
Gothic spire of railside church.
A lime green fastback rumbles muscular
at a red light corner, paused in joining
the food distribution lane.
cracking blocks of ranch-style houses,
random paint jobs, brown patch yards
roll in precincts for ragged miles.
Flags at half-mast, half-charred,
the Homeland Guard trade
Wanted posters, talking points,
trial transcripts from a kidnap court.
The debate is China fright,
rights recovery, coup or insurrection.

Night delivered,
white star flares descend,
shimmering like neon over water
rushing from a broken main.
Matte grey cars sunder the roadways,
convoy with Hummers, Dodge Rams.
White tribe tattoos stripe arms flexed
around riot shield, shotgun cradled for a crutch.
A lie will find a fool to believe it.
Armed grievance yields a simpleton’s image,
defeat at point of attack—
disease masks, disability, mercy’s obligation.
A stalking mob admits its failure.
History is faced alone.

R.T. Castleberry, a Pushcart Prize nominee, has work in Vita Brevis, San Pedro River Review, Trajectory, Silk Road, StepAway and Dissident Voice. Internationally, he's had poetry published in Canada, Wales, Ireland, Scotland, France, New Zealand, Portugal, the Philippines, India and Antarctica. His poetry has appeared in the anthologies: You Can Hear the Ocean: An Anthology of Classic and Current Poetry, TimeSlice, The Weight of Addition, and Level Land: Poetry For and About the I35 Corridor. Read other articles by R.T..