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Acts Of Terror
Jackson Wheeler

It is an old dream
which returns.  How
innocent and guilty

are thrown together
at some unexpected, yet
not unplanned moment.

I am the tourist, anxious
to rediscover Italy
in the manner of Henry James,

or spend a summer in the dry
dust of Ephesus near Aphrodite's
temple, listening to nightingales.

I was taught to be fearless.
Who could imagine people
who harm for the sake of harm

itself?  Suddenly, I am an object
of great value, a bronze cast by
the hand of Lysippous, an idea

worthy of the contemplation
of ten thousand fevered
imaginations.  I am purpose.

I am network news, international
if killed at the right time.  No
malice, just timing.

When the grenade rolls near
my feet, I have just finished
a glass of wine, or a demitasse

of espresso, or made a final
offer to the rug merchant
on a carpet for my study.

My blood sprays up into
the disordered marketplace
where a young man dips

his finger into a widening
pool, writes the name of God
on the paving stones.