I didn't speak,
Let a cricket croak escape as
My hand passed across my chin
Nodded to the man in the felt hat.
He showed his hands to those behind.
I thought of Elsie, her shiny creased smile
Of tucking in my hand the hot loose
Skin above her hip
Warming her slow and unstable
As bubbles alchemied from copper
Instructions were brief:
Act like nothing was about to happen
Take his money, hide under an afternoon silence.
Looking him in the eye?
Doesn't fuckin' matter. Do your job.
The sun stretched up
Blinding sparks fireworked from every surface
I never expected his face to be honest
Or so close
I took his coin,
Pressed a cool finger to the sliding switch
And I slid myself
My back so straight against the plaster that I
Imagined I was the condemned one
I folded myself
Out of sight
I never looked at his eyes
And gunshots were the pops of buttons
Shoulders scraping asphalt
The ripping of her red cotton dress
My envelope pulped with sweat
They had to prise my hands
From the lapels of my goddamned uniform