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  • By Robert Funderburk

As a Shadow


Wayne sat on a plastic chair,

t-shirt blood-spattered, blade-

ripped halfway down the front,

left eye swollen shut, soon to

blossom with color. Will he ever

learn to keep his mouth shut?


Double doors banged open, but

the emergency no longer existed.

A white-suited attendant pushed

a gurney steadily and almost

silently across the lobby toward

a No Admittance sign. An arm

had fallen from underneath the

sheet, swaying slightly with that

unrestrained freedom that only

death can create. The arm was

smoothly and gracefully muscled,

without the bulk that would have

come later with manhood. Tattooed

on the outside of the bicep, the words

Born to Raise Hell eulogized a

brief and violent life.


Wayne turned his one-eyed gaze

toward the arm, his expression

never changing.

“Remind you of anybody?”

He stared at the floor, nodding twice.

“Who?”

“My dad.”

The man in white pushed the body

of the boy on through the door

and down a dim hallway

toward the light

at the far end.


Featured in New Lyre (Summer 2023)


Robert Funderburk was born by coal oil lamplight in our home near Liberty, Mississippi, graduated from Louisiana State University in 1965, serving as SSgt in USAFR from 1965 - 1971. He now lives with my wife, Barbara, enjoying the peace of their home on fifty acres of wilderness in Olive Branch, Louisiana.


7 commentaires


martinmccarthy1956
martinmccarthy1956
06 juin 2023

I'm afraid I have to agree with Daniel's comment below. I just cannot see how this fragment of a story can be classified as a poem. And I don't really want to have a go at Robert here because I know Robert can write fine poetry. Back in March, he wrote a beautiful poem called 'Fragile' and I remember commenting on how good it was. My question is really for David because he obviously thought this piece was good enough to publish, so I'll ask him directly : David, how does this fragment of a story meet the criteria for 'timeless poetry' that you and Adam have set out so clearly, so often? Where is the structure? Where is the…

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martinmccarthy1956
martinmccarthy1956
10 juin 2023
En réponse à

Thank you David for taking the time to reply, especially when I know how busy you are. Much appreciated. Martin

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drleach1953
05 juin 2023

This piece, however thoughtful and not without poetic irony, is, I feel, really prose broken up rather arbitrarily into lines, with no rhythm or even flow to them. Poetry is forever inextricably linked to actual human speech and to its natural musicality even when the traditional formal elements are lacking and have the sound, when spoken, of Truth, such that it seems as if it was already present in ourselves and couldn't have been said in any other way.

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martinmccarthy1956
martinmccarthy1956
06 juin 2023
En réponse à

I totally agree with this comment and I have added my own comment above.

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ddouthat09
ddouthat09
05 juin 2023

Recycling: not just green anymore. Red too.

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bobbyfunderburk1
bobbyfunderburk1
06 juin 2023
En réponse à

Would you please explain this comment. Thanks.

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