What you had you had for a while and now you are eighty-seven and holding a small pistol behind your back. Two chunky children stand before you, one of them palming a frozen spaghetti lunch. The other, a girl without hair, has a half pint of chocolate milk and an apple. Think of something to say that will keep them here. They are not mute; in the dust-heavy corner, they are stunned by age. A widowed weeping willow barks at you against the open window. Your papa shot that man. This neighborhood makes you fear for your life. You tell them. They look like orphaned pumpkins. The girl frowns; your lips shudder anciently. Is your papa outside guarding the door? Yes. My papa taught me how to say no. It was an accident. In drifts that sour dead smell from beside the pond. Minnows decomposing in dried-out frogs’ mouths. Memphis sun blazes and rains. The children deliver your lunch. Let them carefully touch your leather hands like strong weather in their persistence. Handle the grip, grip the handle. This is how you protect yourself from monthly looters. Is there someone dead or going to? The boy doesn’t hear you right; his ears are connected somehow to the dangling, broken bulb on the ceiling fan. Honey-suckle sweetness drips in after a crack of thunder. The left hand doesn’t know what? Two children in a horrible toothy towering mirror converge. Your bladder, the sea urchin, madam, the concrete flooding creek after the 1950s. Silver pyramid downtown stabs at all the history I know, Papa: Your trigger finger is more like a bullet than a—remember: You are Ophelia.
Photo Source: A Beautiful Mind