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Armor for Main Street,

Armor to face the world in, day by day.

A borrowed shape to fold your heart away,

More powerful than I have worn before.

A tough hide, used to smoking every night,

That's heard a lot of bad jazz in its time.

I put it on and belt it round my waist,

And all the dark minds that wore it in years past

Stand up again and walk the world with me,

Strengthen my acts.

Here's your own world, bounded by one coat:

Buttons to close, a cold smooth front to wear.

A collar to turn up hard,

As action suits the word, to sneer and walk away.

Pockets that could hold a .22,

A wallet, a passport, a postcard from out East,

Your hands when you are baffled in the end.

Just shove them in and drift off down the street,

No one will trouble you.

A belt, if you can tie it right,

Will hold you up and walking for a long time.

For a guy, long skirts and stone-cold manliness.

For a woman, broad shoulders,

A soldier's shape, hard angles, edge-sharp beauty.

I wish for rain day after day, to wear it all the time.

It could catch a bullet in its elbow crease,

More than lawman, beggar, brute, or thief,

It holds my splinters in sharp strappy shape,

My waterproof and worldproof loan of strength.

April Grant lives in Boston. Her backstory includes time as a sidewalk musician, real estate agent, public historian, dishwasher, and librarian. Among her hobbies are biking and ruin appreciation.
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