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The Third Man

by Kim Bridgford

The shots are beautiful, and make us gasp.
There’s goodness offering up its heart again —
To the thrill of the magician, and con man.

Then knowledge guides the pin into its clasp.

But we don’t want to know it, want to see
That we are right. Through our naivete,
We say that the black market can tempt most.

Yet why does he not know that there’s no cost
That’s worth these children, winnowing to bone —
His heart lies down with knives, and mud, and stone —
Who stare in madness, or are tossed in graves?

It’s only his own skin, and loss, he grieves.

And then we turn away. He hurts our eyes,
A statue we bought cheap, to idolize.

Kim Bridgford is the director of the West Chester University Poetry Center and the West Chester University Poetry Conference, the largest all-poetry writing conference in the United States. As editor of Mezzo Cammin, she was the founder of The Mezzo Cammin Women Poets Timeline Project.

Detail from film poster
Published 31 May 2011