After Action Report

The evenings spent practicing happiness
will come in handy these long winter nights
after the trauma of sunlight vanishes.
That is the common way, looking behind
the black boot polish like a magic mirror,
the world's secrets buried in asphaltum.
The copperhead's by the trail like the leaves
but we're too big to eat; only the ticks
will give us trouble, if you call it that.
You never know how much you bore investors
till you see their cars, visit them at home,
watch sons and daughters look right through you.
This weekend a phone book was delivered
like a cuneiform tablet bringing tears
for all the civilizations of my youth.

M. A. Schaffner has work recently published or forthcoming in The Hollins Critic, Magma, Tulane Review, Gargoyle, and The Delinquent. Other writings include the poetry collection The Good Opinion of Squirrels, and the novel War Boys. Schaffner spends most days in Arlington, Virginia or the 19th century.