Eliot Katz was trained in the poetic arts by Allen Ginsberg, is a regular at New York City poetry readings, and is the co-founder and co-editor of Long Shot, a New Jersey-based literary journal.

Death and War

by Eliot Katz

On the last car of a late night N train
I asked Death how it managed
to move so quickly
during wars.

"I'm not sure why," Death answered,
"but ever since Hiroshima
my skates glide faster
over the cool Earth."

I asked whether it was possible
to tell the difference
between a civilian
and a young draftee.

"No difference."

I said from my own perspective
there was at least something different
about a playful child
struck by stray cluster bomb.

Death glared between my eyes.

I debated with Death about the merits
of a bullet, a car crash, & a baseball bat--
It confessed the first case
of pediatric AIDS

had almost bounced back & shocked Death
to death.

Approaching the last stop, I asked
whether it ever thought,
despite a difficult economy,
to look for an easier job.

Death laughed & pointed to the front page
of today's New York Times.
"Watch your step, E. Katz,
but don't make it obvious."

Photo contributed by Margaret Randall

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