Larry Rogers

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The Drunken Barnstormer

He departed
these old hills
and dozens
of bitterly
like a turkey
flying away
from Thanksgiving.

The Prisoner

When they brought
the prisoner in,
he was unconscious.
When he starts
coming to, knock him out again
is all I was told.
I did it once but
when he began
stirring a second time
I just couldn’t.
He was a boy about my age.
This should not
have mattered.
But it did. I tied him
to a palm tree
and offered him a cigarette.
With neither able
to speak the other’s language,
we just sat there
staring bullet holes
in each other. In
the morning he was dead.
I untied him, rolled
him over. He could’ve
been a flat tire
and I could’ve been looking
for the nail that
had punctured it. I could’ve
been the FDA inspecting
a piece of meat.
I did not find a wound
that should have been fatal.
Can you die of fear?
I asked myself as
I buried him in a shallow grave
easy to dig there on
the coast of the South China Sea.

Larry Rogers grew up in a potting shed trailer in the piney woods of west central Arkansas--a sanctuary for moonshiners, marijuana growers, and merry (and not-so-merry) pranksters. His poems and stories have appeared in Hanging Loose, Nerve Cowboy, Pearl, Rattle, Wormwood Review, and the Denver Post. He has been a performing singer/songwriter since he returned from Nam a thousand years ago. He currently lives with his wife in Fort Smith, Arkansas.