How did you ever think you would justify anything as good,
after abandoning her for sweet prayer in a stone fruit orchard
or wonderful deed saints you held in the knowing? How about
your holy hand to try art: cupping chopped off chicken heads
from a prison’s construction site gravel. You paste them by 7Up
and propane bottles for picture, for meaning. What sacrifices
could ever be more meaningful than that night at Hearty Stop In Grocery?
Tell me now why you left the house made of wire for an insane woman,
who rushed you to that store for distilled water to pour in her breathing box
so she might sleep. Always when awake, the black wallpaper was a stove
where her rapist step father scalded her baby sister to death.
She thought you were the father and sought to murder you as the father.
Thought you were the hooker mother, who saw this happen the way
one sees a movie happen: up close but the story is far away.
She sought to murder you as the mother too.
The clerk would sell you winter squash and rifles for clearance.
But you kept saying water and no, no distilled. And she just laughed
in her wart-wide mouth. Just said, Well Kroger has that.
The only Kroger around here is closed. You tried to run,
as nothing was funny. As the clerk shot dead silver wing butterflies.
And the room became traffic crash debris with fast rain falling over.
My poetry has appeared in The Northern Virginia Review, MayDay Magazine, 2River View, Oyez Review, The Sierra Nevada Review, and elsewhere.