Poet's showcase

Shades of Gray

By Gary Lechliter


To the men who shot the whooping cranes ...


Five-hundred thousand

sand hill cranes that

wade unrolling shores

cannot now and will never

stand regaled in white

with black-tipped wings.


An accident your plea ...

Shades of gray blinded

by need to blast rare birds

rising in that instant

when trigger-fingers

twitch and barrels roar.


Mistaken identity's claim

of shame, any real hunter

knows the target and the

reason to kill, shrouded

as it is in right-or-wrong;

the old morality play.


Blinded by testosterone,

the retinas blend from

white to gray. In this

there is no living color,

only the ghostly shades

of passenger pigeons.


-- Gary Lechliter is a Lawrence poet. Poet's Showcase features work by area poets. Submit your poetry via e-mail with a subject line of Poet's Showcase to mpaget@ljworld.com or send typewritten (not handwritten) submissions to Mindie Paget, 645 N.H., Lawrence 66044, attn: Poet's Showcase. Teen writers should submit their work to the 18 & Under page at teens@ljworld.com.

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