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Ditty of the Shantied Cherubs 
by James Martin Spears

A bean in the kettle pops 
a raised-Jesus white.
There’s a few in the butter
shaking toasty for a bite
while two tatty children 
hover over for a gander,
swooshing up the steam 
like they’re filling up their bellies.
Momma, in sheer night gown,
scratches underneath her panties,
gawking at her babies
hoisted on a wooden chair.
Ashes from her smoke
dangle long between her gashed lips.—
The gangly man who banged her
drubbed her ugly all the time.
He lifted all her cash 
for a dime bag and a ride 
and pocketed her food stamps,
bolting quick before they woke.
Dopers beat him dead right after—
stuffed his body in a bin
behind the corner crack house
where he scored his alone time.
Now, a bean in the kettle pops
a raised-Jesus white—
a ratta-tatta jouncing of their pangs.

James Martin Spears has a Master of Arts in English from McNeese State University and is working on an MFA in poetry from Drew University.  He currently teaches at LSU.

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