The odor was that of a good meal

I remember

It was in a backyard in Southern Illinois

The father was jovial, the afternoon sun

shone, and a cool breeze blew

He laughed

as he passed out the best slabs of meat

I’ll take the leavings, he says

It is like simple arithmetic

One stimulus and one response

All you need is an equal sign

and the hot air that drifts from the south

is erased, along with the soldiers

standing by, their guns at the ready,

just in case someone is still alive

After the building burns down to the ground

they take whatever belongings remain, and move

on to the next town