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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.


“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.

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