The Ones Who’d Carry It Out

February 18, 2021
A black and white photograph of a black metal pail
Photo by Russ Morris / Flickr

Some may live just a block away,
even nearer: the Walmart clerk
who’d coolly hook a hot wire
to your gonads, the grease monkey
keen on beheading, the cleaning lady
who’d fill her pail with eyeballs.

And there’s the ousted Scoutmaster
who’d corral the kids, the engineer
who’d craft a more cost-effective
abattoir for undesirables, the MBA
who’d plot the sweeping purges
and drive the schedule full tilt.

Add to them, the rubberneckers,
who’d only want a decent view—
and those, like most, who’d say
the acrid smoke billowing from
that odd new building’s chimney
is simply none of their affair.


William Trowbridge’s latest collection, Oldguy: Superhero—The Complete Collection, was published in September by Red Hen Press. His other collections are Put This On, Please: New and Selected Poems, Ship of Fool, The Complete Book of Kong, Flickers, O Paradise, and Enter Dark Stranger. His poems have appeared in more than forty anthologies and textbooks as well as on The Writer’s Almanac, An American Life in Poetry, and in such periodicals as Poetry, Gettysburg Review, Georgia Review, Boulevard, Southern Review, Plume, Columbia, Rattle, Iowa Review, Prairie Schooner, Epoch, and New Letters. He lives in the Kansas City area and teaches in the University of Nebraska low-residency MFA in Writing Program. He was poet laureate of Missouri from 2012 to 2016.

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