By J.D. Isip
haul its strange cohesion
beyond the limits of my vision
Sober for almost sixteen days she tells us
the tale of “how much he was trying”— an old ditty
like “he doesn’t mean to” and “I just know if”—
coffee in hand, staring ahead in long breaths.
Chanel 7 didn’t get the bit about trying
between the slow shots: a witness pointing-handtomouth-pointing,
metal shot asunder—the still-glossy pieces growing dim
on the asphalt as the camera shifts away.
Drunks never hit pedophiles or gangbangers;
it’s as if Fate carves out the dotted line from loser
to “loving family of four” to place the exclamation
behind waste and pathetic—
Words she’s been swallowing for forty-two years.
Disappointed and disgusted, the nurse says
“Looks like he gets to live” pivoting on her white shoes
half-sprint from the blighted kin
“Oh praise Jesus!” she says, “Isn’t it wonderful?”
her cold coffee spilling onto glistening linoleum
splashing each of us in its astonishing radius,
stained momentarily in filthy hope.