Cowardice?
You ask, repeat
A word without hinges
Stifles your appeal to death.
The insinuation is old
And the proclamation a rubix cube:
Leave you would us?
Up and battle give the?
Coward a you are.

While the noose
Sways expectantly
The solid ground repeats its vice.

It's a selective edge
Different from fire and steel
Words like traitor, pirate,
Mutineer, bastard;
So elemental a substance
At home in its glass phial.

Children do not play in the laboratory
No,
They are carried there like sheep
Contortionist Hansel limbs
Crammed in hard, boxy bags
Stethoscopes jammed up their nostrils
Tongues white as
Gravity.

Teenagers
Do not play in the laboratory, no:
Their game is behind recycled newspapers
Hide and Seek
Along the subway tracks
Chicken or Mercy or
Flirtation
Helpless to mouths
Left without
Any other alternative but
To seek metal
And asphalt.

Adults play in the laboratory
Imprint flasks with
Sticky fingers, mid-life crises
Tagging along

You are the
Impatience of your own plague
And you
With your gases, your
Bunsen burners:
You cannot be pitied.