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NO

The old man at the end of the road
has staked a big red sign
to his front lawn,
and the sign says NO.

Just NO.

Stark white letters
on a red field so angry
you can feel it like a sunburn
hot on the neck of the street.

I don’t know what he protests.
The meetings of men’s lips, maybe,
or the sweat on a busy immigrant’s brow.
Coffins coming home with flags
draped over their lids,
or the debt draped on his grandkids’ backs
just so they can learn something.

Maybe he’s just angry
at the inexhaustible creep of age:
the aches in his hips
and the grit in his bones
and the pills that damn fool doctor
tells him he ought to take.

Whatever it is,
he makes sure everyone
who passes by
knows he disapproves.

This poem was originally published under the pen name Gabriel Gadfly.
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