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69| Although Their Eyes Were Kind

Kelly McQuain


It is in fear that children now do lie
beneath lunch tables out of sniper range.
And if, by chance, head raised, they should die
look to a classmate for this death arranged.
Southern boys with guns from fathers’ cases
lie in wait to send friends to dreamless sleep.
Their hearts disregard shocked looks on faces.
This world is full of mothers who now do weep.
To look inside a pimply killer’s heart
we might expect to find neglect, abuse.
What love toward others in that chest does sit?
We want to know these ruffians lack some part
— yet wrath seldom provides such easy excuse.

A native of West Virginia, Kelly McQuain's writing has appeared in such venues as Painted Bride Quarterly, Kestrel, Weave, The Pinch, Assaracus, The Harrington Gay Men's Fiction Quarterly, and American Writing, as well as in numerous anthologies, including Best Gay Erotica, Men on Men, Between: New Gay Poetry, Drawn to Marvel: Poems from the Comic Books, The Queer South and Skin & Ink. His chapbook, Velvet Rodeo, recently won BLOOM magazine's poetry prize. He has worked as a comic book artist and a pretzel maker, but now works as a creative writing professor in Philadelphia. Visit him at

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