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I know the calloused ones––
those who shoot first and seldom ask question, even later––
and they scare me.
They never cry or laugh or feel anything at all.
And more than this, somewhere in the eyes
which have stopped seeing pain, I find a reflection of myself––
a threat of what I might become.

Because once they too had the need to be
just a bit braver than they felt
when the bullets started flying close
keep a lid on the anger
when they wanted to deck a few punks
pretend they’d seen it all and were shocked by nothing
when they wanted to heave their guts out on the pavement,
‘cause blood stinks
hide the tears they wanted to cry
when the victims were kids or the helpless old people
or just the lost souls
who always end up face down in the alleys of the world.

But now they really are fearless, calm, tearless, and
unshakeable––real professionals, perfect cops––
and they scare me.