“War and Peace” by Harvey Goldner

Harvey Goldner


Big bombs fell out of the
sky. Big bombs fell all over
the countryside. Chickens died,
some cows, a few lucky people
from down the road. Then the war,
the exhilaration, was over.

A new tax collector came by—
different uniform, same fishy
eyes. The craters made by the
bombs filled with rainwater.
Kids played in the bomb ponds
until Cousin Bob, the smart one,

came back from the big city
and taught us how to raise
catfish in the bomb ponds.
His lovely wife, Bobette,
gave us a dynamite
recipe for hushpuppies.

Now, when the new tax collector
(different uniform, same fishy
eyes) comes by on the first of
every month to collect, we
have a party—all the catfish
and hushpuppies you can eat.

So far, he hasn’t gotten too
greedy, not yet. But if he does,
Aunt Mary, the ancient one,
still has left some of the
good poison which she
murdered the last one

from Rattle #25, Summer 2006

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