Before They Came For Us
They met in the woods below our homes, brought their sawed-off shotguns and rusted
knives, chucked their crushed Budweisers against the trees and greased their beards.
Even their laughter was bad. Even their thick feet filthy in their boots. Did they know
about the busted window above our bunk beds, that we’d forgotten to close the garage
after we put our bikes away? That time by the creek, did we just pretend to drink the
dregs from their cans, or did we sip from them? Did we swallow? Were all of them
empty? Was that innocence or the end of it? Was it then we began to sneak into our
mother’s bed, that we began to watch her sleep?
Civilian Exiting the Facilities
Each week my body is fist-stamped and triple-scanned before it lands again in the
electoral world. My mind takes longer to leave, stays in the elevator considering
the kind of crime it might be capable of. Would I have to be hungry. Could it
happen over nothing. Could it happen nightly. In the shine of a car outside the
prison my reflection gets wider until it splits. In one likeness the face I recognize.
In the other my face.
Table for Six
In two chairs sit the victims. In another, sits the person who did the worst a person
can do to another. The other three chairs contain their mothers. The pages in their
menus keep sticking together and smell of bureaus. At last, someone addresses the
napkins, which are burning. And the napkins answer: this may be the only table
you’ll ever know.