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(Second in Command)


Consider the plight of subordinates, say, Reno,

which drags a bit behind Vegas, or Custer’s Rosebud-

crossing Reno, Lakota whipped and glory broke, a xeno-

phobe whose kingdom come was Sioux and Cheyenne flood.


He’s called a Queeg for having headed south

and leaving his General with troubles that converge

when reckless captains overcalculate their worth.

They’d rather have lamenting tabloids sing a dirge


on their behalf, so here’s a little snack for you, scout:

don’t let arrogance drive you up on bridge or bluff;

take a little time to sum up and make out

which routes pass for fortitude and those too tough


given the geometries we plot from positions

on high—fame’s runners-up sometimes are sages

provided they meet what they’ve met with contrition,

if only to cut and cash the future’s forgetful wages.

from Void and CompensationFind more by Michael Morse at the library

Copyright © 2015 Michael Morse
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.

Published in Michael Morse Poems

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