with hair piled up on her head
went outside with the manager.
her boyfriend sat across
from me sucking on a soda
through a blue straw. I nursed a coffee.
DQ at three o’clock in the afternoon.
the manager was not pleasant,
her face round and angry. the girl
said something and then the manager
said something and the boyfriend sucked
on his soda through a blue straw.
he thought the whole thing was funny
and grinned with a mouthful
of crooked teeth.
I nursed the coffee. the girl
with hair piled up on her head
said something more and the manager
slid an envelope across
the table between them. the girl
took the envelope and held it at an angle
in her hand,
the nails painted pepto bismol pink.
she stood and the manager stood
and whatever it
was about was over.
walked out. her face
held no expression. the envelope
was in her left hand. then the
manager came out
and said to the boyfriend
sucking soda through a blue straw,
don’t come on the property
no more. the boyfriend smiled
with his crooked teeth
and then he went out too.
the boy and girl climbed in a
dented brown car
and drove across the lot. the girl put
a cigarette in her mouth and lit it
with a neon green lighter.
they drove down to the street and disappeared.
I nursed the coffee. afternoon sun
touched the limbs of a large oak tree
outside the window.
on the other side of the world
fighter jets from one country
dropped thousand pound bombs
on the cities of another country.
all the time.
he would storm home from work
stinking of beer and perspiration
and would rant
reducing all of us to the size of small insects
scurrying to stay out
from under his size tens.
inside her self. she became
small and unobtrusive. for the children
the world was on fire. flames licked the future
and scorched probability a charred black.
anger defines me.
you like to think it is genetic
a scarlet curse passed through blood
during the first trimester. hatred cells absorbed
through the placenta. hiding behind
the furnace in the basement
with the lights off.
above your head
the monster. he would die
his heart a clogged red-black vessel.
look, he said,
we would like you to leave.
take all your stuff, bundle it with kite string,
and get the fuck out. seriously,
we don’t care where
you go so long as it is far, far away,
maybe Kampala or Ikh Bogd Uul, anywhere
but here. we’re tired of looking at you,
we’re tired of your voice, your sad sack face,
your clothes, your scuffed shoes,
sock with holes, the way you incessantly
complain about everything.
you think you’re God’s gift to the word,
and it’s tedious, intolerable.
some of the people around here
are afraid of you, they think you will
become violent, they see it in your eyes.
most of the time you refuse to make eye contact
and when you do it is scary,
unnerving. some of us think you
have Asperger’s, you’re asocial, even anti-social,
we think you should see
a head doctor, you should be
in a state institution, restrained, on medication.
you’ve worn out your welcome.
there’s the door, don’t let it hit your ass
on the way out. here’s a bus ticket, train fare,
cab fare. just get the hell out, we’re sick
and tired of your bullshit.
he smiled at the reflection of himself
in the mirror and then walked out.
it was a
beautiful sunny day.
he stood for a second on the curb
and allowed sun to touch his face.
then walked down the street
and out of there.