by Dale Braun
Dale Braun

Dale Braun is a graduate of Indiana University with a BS in Criminal Justice. He is a twenty-five year veteran of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department where he holds the rank of Lieutenant. Currently, he is assigned to uniform operations as a shift commander. The poems in this issue of Amarillo Bay are Lt. Braun's first publications. He lives in Indianapolis with his wife, Sarah.

She walks in mercury vapor like washed out death,
not the she of Byron,
not a pretty woman as myth would
have her. Just walk on by--
in that same maddening pattern,
like a retarded bird flying repeatedly into
the same pane of glass with a monotonous
determination. For the love of God, open the damn window.
If she is black,
she has a fat ass with
exaggerated platform soles. The trashy white
is different. She can count her teeth on the fingers of one hand and
wears sneakers.
I wonder why that is. But it always is.
A red glow, a squeak of friction plates, "Need a ride?"
Fat ass looks in with yellow eyes,
flirting even though she doesn't really have to. She
disappears into the imitation leather. He only has
thirty one dollars. Negotiations commence around
the corner. Hey, Buddy, no turn on red. My partner moves in.
The weather is always lousy
on this street. It's nice up on Vine where the soft wind caresses.
Here it bitch slaps you like my old football coach. Asshole.
A swirl of dried leaves whips by in the cold bite. They just
blew down from Vine, a delicate procession of swallowtails. Here they get
to the business of clickety-clicking and scratchety-scratching,
skirting along like a thousand stampeding rats wearing
taps on their little rat shoes. I need a
transfer, homicide's gotta be better than this. Rotting corpses don't
smell as bad as this shit hole looks. How about Vine Street
foot patrol...yeah, that's the gig I want. Forecast, sunny and mild forever. Better
check on toothless. Keep walking, girl, and you'll
never get anywhere but here. Just ten
thousand miles to go, and all on this block. Lots of cracks on this block.
Step on a crack,
land on your back,
open the crack,
sell the crack,
buy the crack,
fall through the cracks,
use what's left over
to get Pop Tarts
for the kids. Tastes like real blueberries.
Oh yeah, the kids. Can't swing a dead cat without hitting one.
Snotty noses. Sweet as can be.
They don't stand a chance.
I put my cuffs away, mocking my own pointlessness. Why bother, I've locked
this one up eight times already.
Maybe I'll get her kids some milk, wipe their noses, watch them until she emerges from the fog.

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