Voice of the Veteran Kicked Off the Bus

Between Belmont and First, Portland, Oregon

by MK Butler

That’s murder in the first degree
They killed five of ‘em.
That’s murder in the first degree
They want to kill three or four more.
I was dragging my boot
I was trained to be—
I was dragging my boot—
The samaurai
The Japanese
The way I—
He’s gonna knock him
dead in a minute
He’s fixing to kick—
Gonna tell everyone
Give him the gun.
Don’t do it.
If I had the chance—
That’s murder, you dumbass,
He killed that guy
The commander in chief.
Oh, he’s good, isn’t he?
He’s so good he commanded it.

MK Butler spends daylight hours in a cubicle writing surgical technique manuals for spine surgeons and evening hours writing or chasing large bugs around her basement apartment with a snow boot. She’s got an MFA from Hamline University, and was selected for the 2008 emerging writer’s residency by the Fellowship of Australian Writers in Perth, Western Australia. Her work has appeared in Project for a New Mythology, PriariePoetry.org, rock paper scissors, Confluence, and is forthcoming in Dos Passos Review.