Rights

by Wayne F. Burke


In Cambridge, Massachusetts, outside

The Mug & Muffin restaurant

a guy wearing a pork pie hat was

singing “Sixteen Tons”

for spare change

as another guy

over by the newspaper kiosk

poured gasoline from a can

over his head

then asked passersby for a match

and some jackass gave him one

and some waitress screamed

and the guy with gasoline was

tackled

and as I moved ahead

against a tide of liberals

fleeing

as if for life

a girl

with terror-dazed eyes

ran into my chest,

and the guy,

pinned to the ground,

screamed

“I want my rights!”

as if

lighting himself on fire

in public

was one.

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