Killer Domestic: ‘Zephyr’

September 17, 2013

Note: This poem is part of a larger project entitled Killer Domestic, an examination of the unusual and unfounded perils of suburbia.


Fingering the skinny paintbrushes like knives —

James in art class, aloof and innocent

A still life sets itself up near the window

As he begins to tell us how many guns he has

At home under the bed

And how he knows how to operate them.


The window is throwing beautiful afternoon light

On the corner still life, all fruit with thick skin

But bruised beyond. We gather our books for math

And I never see James again

Just sink into the weight of variables.


He’d had a fight with his grandmother

The principal later told me

And she’s the only family he’s got

Except a dad he rarely sees somewhere in Warsaw.

Sometimes they hunt. I think of James

As I ride the large bus wheels and float home

Heavy as a zephyr in the clouds that carry

Too much rain before their time.


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