5.11 / November 2010


She would tell me when to stop and then
roll over and go to sleep
selfish girl but
it was enough
I met her at a gas station

she stumbled like a colt
in the glare of twenty four hour
convenient lighting
her unblemished skin
a stiletto heel lobotomy

reeling and blinking
she teetered
one little cocktail umbrella in her fingers
“Give me a ride home, big boy?”

She drank eighty proof drinks and got mad sometimes
when I tried to touch her
or help her walk
pretty girls
aren’t easy to live with

she had a long pink scar on one breast
and she never would say where it came from
she covered it with her fingers
said she’d rather I not

but that little scar doesn’t change
what she is
and what I want to say is honey
who do you think you’re dealing with

the saints all shipped to heaven
long before the rest of us were born
I let her sleep and don’t say anything
as a small kindness.


They said it was Meth he was on
when he put a sheet over her head
and started punching and choking her.
They said it was premeditated
because he bought the sheet beforehand
and why would a runaway
need a bed sheet? She was in the hospital,
at first they didn’t know if she’d make it.
He tried to hide in the woods but
police came and locked him up.

We weren’t close friends, but I knew him.
I could have said the words to the cameras:
“He seemed troubled. I know his mother
and she doesn’t deserve this.”
I didn’t know the girl. How
did it feel? One moment ordinary,
the next a flurry of white pain and fists
she couldn’t see coming.
I wish that I could moralize

But then I think of carnival rides,
being flung into the sky for an instant
a map of everything I know
pluming out below,
every cell in my body
sparking bright with adrenaline.
Sometimes I like to hope
that nothing is connected
and god is particles dispersed
that do not touch each other.

He said

it was only her
smile catching
his heart like brushfire

5.11 / November 2010