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An Azalea Blooms in the Murderer's Yard

And shirtless boys fire rocks with rackets

from the lawn next door. Ping and twang,

then sounds of invisible tunnels torn

through the canopy of indifferent oaks.

Perhaps it was them I saw, the scoundrels,

casting their lures in the middle of February,

hoping to snag the swans parked at the rim

of the flooded bog's unfreezing pupil.

He shot his family with a twenty-two

not long after debarking the bus from school,

the quiet campus photographer, always

in the dark room, it was said, waiting

for the images he'd abducted from the world

to unfurl in shallow toxic pans.

By Ralph Sneeden