Compassion Problem

By season two of The Walking Dead I’ve almost grown immune
to corpses staggering along a road or through the woods drawn
by gunshots, bells, some music, like old dolls leaking
dust only blood spews out if you cut or stab or aim
a car through them, you might pull at one & its arm
comes off, their lips come off & show their teeth, you have to shoot
between their eyes or sink an axe into a skull to kill
the brain that’s been someway hot-wired to start the whole
mess, the living are fewer & the undead more & more
legion, who’d want to see that on their way to get coffee, & so
ugly you want the former sheriff & his wife & son
& the old farmer & his daughters & the pizza guy & a few
others you’ve come to care about to solve those grotesque
cartoons, clear them from the streets & alleyways, & soon.





Kim Addonizio’s latest poetry collection is Now We’re Getting Somewhere (W.W. Norton). She is the author of seven other poetry collections, two novels, two story collections, and two books on writing poetry, The Poet’s Companion (with Dorianne Laux) and Ordinary Genius, as well as a memoir, Bukowski in a Sundress: Confessions from a Writing Life (Penguin). Her awards include fellowships from the NEA and Guggenheim Foundation. She lives in Oakland, CA and teaches live Zoom workshops. Exit Opera is forthcoming from W.W. Norton. For additional information, visit

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