"Small Men" by Justin Bendell

We small men
stand in the shadows

A soft-powder moon above,
we drink and spit,
mutter of sex and skin,
and toast our fathers.

We boil to see bodies broke,
and yearn to hurt
with fists and sharpened flint
and hear bone splinter and
erupt from a wound like a birth.

Stars in the lacquer-sky and
moonglow on the leaves above,
we swig liquor and snarl
about the past we lost and a
world that never was.

We small men
take your words and twist
to make more small men
to put your bodies in the fields.

We lie in wait and drink and sneer and wait and
mutter and spit and sip and wait and mock and
snarl and swig
and wait
and wait
and wait
and wait
and we wait
for you to forget.

We small men
see the world like children
see the dark space
beneath their beds.



Justin Bendell is a professor, editor, musician, and writer. Originally from the Midwest U.S., he now lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico, where he teaches English at UNM-Valencia Campus. He serves as editor of Manzano Mountain Review, a fledging online literary journal. His stories and poems have appeared in Meridian, 3:AM Magazine, Hayden’s Ferry Review, Thuglit, and Washington Square Review. He co-hosts Point Blank, a podcast about noir, hardboiled, and detective fiction, and records music under various monikers including fuguers cove, The Burning Silos, Euthanized Horse, and other secret projects. He has an MFA from Florida International, an MA from Northern Arizona, and a B.S. from UW-Madison. He likes the desert. A lot.

Posted on January 11, 2018 .