Against the Accusations | R. T. Castleberry

There is a sense, this tension that 
harmonizes the precise with the studied,
calibrates instinct with the sardonic.
Crossing my legs, I check the pants crease, 
shoot my shirt cuffs,
flick the filter tip directly 
to the flowing gutter.

Following designs in a sniper’s journal,
conquest chapters culled from 
memoirs of Audie Murphy and Errol Flynn,
I shined the smile, trained 
the knife wrist, the wit, the cavalier fist.
I learned the charms of chain restaurants,
treacheries of nightshade, of obsidian.
Tailoring the second-hand to fashion,
I chose the Viberg walking boots,
messenger bag and lifted Mont Blanc.

Judged as I judge,
reduced to rawest scale,
an exhibit tabulated
like the murderer’s clothes,
a parent’s tearful exhaustion,
I argued through a bare cell night:
I shaped this killer.
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