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Primer

Mom slides two bucks
in the beat cop’s palm
to ignore her Chevy
by the hydrant,
and goes for her weekly manicure.
Dad’s sawbuck
buys the checker’s wink
at the way-bill he should clock
for thefts,
like the hams that lie
with our order on the loading dock.
Yeah, two-bit bribes,
but they knead and mould
the plastic mind of an eight-year-old.

("Primer" will appear in PN Review, January-February 2015.)