Verse > Carl Sandburg > Smoke and Steel > IV. Playthings of the Wind > 18. Killers
Carl Sandburg (1878–1967).  Smoke and Steel. 1922.
IV. Playthings of the Wind
18. Killers
I AM put high over all others in the city today.
I am the killer who kills for those who wish a killing today.
Here is a strong young man who killed.
There was a driving wind of city dust and horse dung blowing and he stood at an intersection of five sewers and there pumped the bullets of an automatic pistol into another man, a fellow citizen.
Therefore, the prosecuting attorneys, fellow citizens, and a jury of his peers, also fellow citizens, listened to the testimony of other fellow citizens, policemen, doctors, and after a verdict of guilty, the judge, a fellow citizen, said: I sentence you to be hanged by the neck till you are dead.        5
So there is a killer to be killed and I am the killer of the killer for today.
I don’t know why it beats in my head in the lines I read once in an old school reader: I’m to be queen of the May, mother, I’m to be queen of the May.
Anyhow it comes back in language just like that today.
I am the high honorable killer today.
There are five million people in the state, five million killers for whom I kill        10
I am the killer who kills today for five million killers who wish a killing.



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