The Silent Singer

All I needed was sleep
But the phone was wide awake
So I chugged a glass of wine
and dug my car keys out of the couch
The seats were still warm
Her hair was everywhere
Even my dirty fingers reeked
of her redolence
Still, I lit that grape blunt
and let her husband climb in the passenger side
I was 8 when I first saw a dead body
It was many miles within the brush
Carried signs of a natural fluke
Something akin to a heart attack
There was a puppy sitting next to it, whimpering
And I wondered how long it would be before the dog
grew hungry enough to feed
There was barking in the distance as we parked under a street lamp
A nearby field was on fire
The local train was right on time
It's passing whistle was the sound
I was used to falling asleep by
Tonight being the exception
I saw a gun tucked into his belt
as I reached the 22nd stair
It was a third story landing
And the idiot rang the doorbell
even though there was no way
it would be heard
over the noise inside
We were 9 when introduced
They used to say that I was trouble
But I was never dumb enough
to be dangerous
Just liked the taste of forbidden fruit
Now here I was, doing the angel favors, in spite
of his tarnished wings
Too little known too late
His hand already opening the door
And for what? Was it guilt?
It's true, I enjoyed scratching his wife's itch
But that wasn't what put me in this position
No, it wasn't friendship either
This was something else altogether
I was 12 when I realized how we were different
He had hit her in the mouth
with a football
And I cried inside when she bled
It just wasn't in me to hurt people
But I wasn't fighting to save her either
Didn't want her if she couldn't save herself
Couldn't deny her by the time she learned to
I was gentle with her where all she'd ever known was rough
I saw his knuckles pull tight around the weapon he concealed
I imagine she'd seen the same look in his eyes
the last time he hit her
There hadn't been much time
But there's always enough time to save yourself
when at the mercy of a desperate person
He had missed my message to the buyer
He wasted too many moments outside the door
The noise killed over completely
as his shot hit the ceiling
There was a knife in his chest
There was surprise in his eyes
I handed over the drugs without payment,
then saw to having him hospitalized
She was readying divorce papers when he passed
Soon there was California sun
on her skin
And the lives we have left behind
are best to us when we leave them be, behind us

Poetry from The Astrals by Shane Windham
E-book and paperback now on Amazon.com

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