Free of Hollow Laughter

Paul avoided people
soothed by violence.

He avoided the safety
their violence provided

sure it represented
the enforcement of conformity.

Paul saw the blue women
bruised by this safety.

How they conformed
to words in a black book

and not the impulses
in their hearts.

He wandered into the wild
sure their violent safety

would drive them all to whiskey
and madness.

He did not look back
at the land cleared of trees.

copyright © 2021 Kenneth P. Gurney