The Poet Community

Arson and the Artist | A Poem by Donal Mahoney

Walt told the cops later
his moods come and go
like crows on the high wire
above his art studio.

They land in a swoop,
caw and fly away,
then reappear on the wire,
caw again the same day.

Walt explained this to J.D.,
the art gallery owner, before
he aimed and cocked his pistol.
J.D.’s apology wasn’t enough

because when he opened his gallery,
he borrowed 17 paintings from Walt
and then burnt the place down
to collect the insurance.

J.D. wanted to pay him off,
Walt told the judge and the jury.
“But money can replace art,” he said
when he appealed the death penalty.

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