Fritz Ward

Shooting Range Silhouette In the Shape of a Love Letter

Dear Tinderbox of Texas Excess, how many ways can you wreck us? Your church bells and your
hurricanes, your two-armed tornadoes, your smokestack of ghost-faced bats, your ten-gallon
mouth. Houston. Oh, goddamned Houston. We take aim and say it. Because we can’t keep
what’s inside us alive. For long. For never. Because the ghost towns still standing are named
Swastika, Welfare, Devil’s River. Because the porch is bird-shit white and we sit for hours trying
to persuade each other. The wind chimes are a handful of snakeskins your father hammered to
the eaves. When the storm finally arrives, we lie awake listening to the rattle of what’s passing.

Fritz Ward’s poems have appeared in American Letters & Commentary, Gulf Coast, Blackbird, and many other publications. His manuscript has been a finalist and semi-finalist for the Academy of American Poets Walt Whitman Prize, the National Poetry Series, The Four Way Books Levis Prize, and several other contests. He currently lives just outside of Philadelphia and works at Swarthmore College.