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Under stars, listening to a coloratura soprano,

he looks at glimmering lights on a mesa

where suited technicians use gloved hands

inside sealed boxes to assemble pits


for W88 warheads. As he watches,

twenty-one miles to the north, three men

smoke crack, abduct a woman, inject

her with heroin, push her over a bridge


into the Rio Grande. And as she floats

to shore, he floats to shore, rises out

of the muck, in drenched jeans and T-shirt,

mouth bloodied, staggers, shivering,


to a lit house and finds no one’s unscathed.

Sparkling Ahs and Hell’s vengeance

erupt in starbursts under an August sky;

though people shout, in silence


he stands at a construction site, where

he lasts only a morning, as a foreman

hands him a sledgehammer and, leaning

on a block wall, says, Start swinging, start here.