The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Lawrence Raab

The Assassin's Confession

People die, after all, and a lot of them
deserve it––I can’t afford
to worry about the others.

I want to trust someone who doesn’t
want me to know anything
except the necessary

time and place, and maybe
what window’s best for the angle,
what moment for the shot.

Don’t tell me how you feel,
is what I’d tell my partner.
What’s the use of wondering

about a different way to live?
Watch the street,
I’d say, try to expect

what we can’t predict––
the sun slamming into a wall
of glass, so you flinch

and miss, and then
you don’t get away.
Once is enough,

one mistake, it’s life.
At least that’s what I’ve seen
and learned to believe.




LAWRENCE RAAB is the author of eight collections of poems, including The History of Forgetting (Penguin, 2009), A Cup of Water Turns into a Rose (Adastra Press, 2012), and Mistaking Each Other for Ghosts (Tupelo, 2015), which was nominated for the National Book Award, and named as one of the ten best poetry books of 2015 by The New York Times.  He teaches literature and writing at Williams College.



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