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At eighteen he’s already
or only
three years into his life
for helping his brother
bury the pieces
of the girl they mangled
I liked her myself
but my brother
it goes without saying
he says it anyway
couldn’t stand the bitch
he goes on
like I was dreaming
waiting for the next instructions

the sky was loose
with mist
everything on earth
was delicate and furry
as wool or hair in drizzle
the woods were purple green
it was either very late
or very early
that kind of dark
with the light whimpering
behind it

I am waiting for him
to stop talking
so I can get out of my car
and go pump my gas
but the interviewer asks him
something else and now
he’s on to how
he’s the one
who feels like a victim
like he turned off the T.V.
opened the wrong door
and couldn’t stop
his raw hands
from ripping into
her slippery skin
I was fifteen
didn’t even have my driver’s license
now he’s got nothing
but time to kill
learning to read
using big flash cards
with baby words
like “cat” and “bat”
going backwards
through halls of lockers
and fights
to the playground
to the kindergarten
where the aquariums
of yellow fish
with marble eyes
pin him to the center
of color in the wavering
field of dark
pin him to the place
before everything
that went wrong
went wrong
return him to the place
where three letters
strung together
have meaning
c-a-t is an animal
that can see in the dark
b-a-t is what they used
to bash her face
stop her blubbering
her dark blood
felt warm in the wet air
I was almost dreaming
I could almost stop myself
it’s not that
he wanted to kill her
he was waiting
for other instructions

I’m sitting in my car
waiting for him to stop talking
so I can get out
go about my own business
but he has me here
listening to him
letting his whole story
come down like a screen
between me and my usual
on the 24 hour newscast
of my life

Look at anything long enough to love it.