A Duck's Limp Neck

By Chopko, Joseph | Pennsylvania Literary Journal, Summer 2019 | Go to article overview

A Duck's Limp Neck


Chopko, Joseph, Pennsylvania Literary Journal


Cell blocks made of cinder gray

retain persons paying a penalty for committed crimes

Isolated-confined

some bide their time-lie in wait

for a moment-a weakness to exploit

Subtle at first-pass undetected

But there are others,

insidious in nature

in which no cage sheer wall razor wire moat chain locked door nor

coat of armor

can restrain contain

Capitalizing-multiplying-cannibalizing

the aftermath

a riddled mass of wounded-dead-and dying.

Survivors attempt to hide-regroup-return in force

but it's too late.

The ravenous enemy-a defective rogue DNA band

of cells-preprogrammed to divide and conquer unchecked

collects-amasses-seizes the opportunity

to commit wanton destruction

ravages macrophages-cripples defenses

slips-sweeps-slides and swirls

through narrow transport channels

emerging on the other side

of the world

the enemy morphs like a chameleon

relying on stealth to stalk trap and ensnare

prey with sharp teeth-bone-bamboo

and steel-toe boots.

Try getting kicked in the groin with a pair of those.

When I was a kid, I thought I could dig a hole

reach Peking, dine on skewered duck simmering alongside Chinese street

markets-peddlers-garbage strewn about-a late night

partying-gambling-gorging on gourmet foodie. …

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