Once I fell in love. She took a lover.
I decided not to do it, not to kill them,
But within a mile of here over a period of forty years,
These victims. GL shot six times
As he answered a booty call early one morning
On the steps of his girlfriend’s house.
Her ex-husband, who had recently
Gotten out of the army, laying for him
In the shadows with a .22 rifle.
AW, a nurse, and her two children
Held hostage for hours by the father.
A bungalow just up the road
All night surrounded by police.
Finally, a little before sunrise,
They convinced him to free the kids,
But, straightaway he killed her,
Then himself, with a Saturday night special
Bought at a gun show in Nashville.
The oldest boy is still not right.
BJP, the shy electrician with the pretty wife,
Had told his priapic asshole of an uncle
Not to come back. When he came back, he shot him.
Two buckshot to the belly from a .12 gauge shotgun.
The judge went easy. Third degree murder—
A sentence of 18 months. He didn’t last a year. Leukemia.
Two brothers: the younger,
Who, as a boy liked to take apart watches,
And could fix anything, well-liked,
Even after he came back from Vietnam
Addicted to heroin; and the older, good
At math—he ran a successful body shop
And married a teacher. Both drunk as eternity,
Fishing in their daddy’s pond. A drowning.
The older. The younger blacked out. An iffy situation.
I imagined smoke coming up
From a tire they had burned to stay warm,
And on the stringer in the shallow water
A nice mess of catfish. I wondered if
The man who found the dead man
Fried them in his skillet, or let them go.
I thought of a number of things.
Any image that made me care less. The beauty
Of goldenrod in neglected fields. Swann’s
Peace of mind as he detaches from Odette.
The more we care the more dangerous we get.