I Regret

by Robert McNamara

    KILLING the flies
        that day,
                  197
                      lives snuffed
                by my swatter

on the blazing old glory
    back yard barbecue
        all American
            mustard
                July 4th
              lazy noon

as the heat baked
    the plastic mesh
        of my chaise lounge
            and the steel frame
                burned my neck

and I threw my German Shepherd
    a lime green neon
        tennis ball chewed
            soggy wet
                with dog fang
                              breath

as the black cat howled
    haunting for food again
        under the cool porch shade
            where I wanted
                to swat him
                            too

with my plastic fly-swat
    assassin wand,
        197 crumped
            balls of
                bug-crud,
                          wings
                    translucent
                  fallen off
                I scooped
                      and flung
                        into
                          the
                            barbecue
                     on
                        my
                           burger

and I regret

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