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POETRY I BY DOC KILEY A FLAIR FOR DYING Jimmy had a flair for dying an inspired lan, a certain joie de vivre. A shout “BANG! I GOT YOU!” triggered any of a thousand deaths tucked into the black silk of his Stygian repertoire. On the edge of the barn roof “POW! POW!” shots from a soapstone six-shooter a high-fall into the water tank scattered horses snorting in surprise. A quick count one to ten he rises to die again. On the beam of the loft “BO-0-OM!” the imaginary grenade finds its mark, a launch and then a sprawling leap to the hay, loosely strewn, below. Chickens aflutter in fear. …seven, eight, nine, ten! At speed on his Schwinn a Mattel-ic `B-R-A-A-A-P’ from a plastic Tommy gun a flying dismount, head-long somersaults onto the front lawn, the hapless conveyance careens to its parallel demise. …eight, nine, ten! Amid stalks of corn The hollow `WHUMP’ of a Daisy air rifle the Winchester model fifty smoke pellets for ninety-eight cents a pirouette of leaves and flesh entwined. Macbeth should have died so well. …nine, ten! Jimmy had a flair for dying but not this time. C’mon Jimmy! I’ll count for you -one, two, three… Jimmy had a flair for dying but not in this place. C’mon Bro’! Get up! -four, five, six… Jimmy had a flair for dying but not in this war. C’mon Jimmy! Don’t leave me here, alone! -seven, eight, nine… Jimmy had a flair for dying when dying wasn’t real. DOC KILEY lives and writes in Houston. Naomi Shihab Nye AUGUST 8, 2008 THE TEXAS OBSERVER 19