p
o
e
m
s

Less for the murders than the smug face
remorseless smirking on the screen
all through the trial, when I heard how
he had greased the floor with shampoo
before he hanged himself so when his legs
thrashed his feet would just keep slipping
to increase the pressure they, despite him,
were frantic to relieve,
                                    when I pictured or
tried to picture the cramped abyss of the dark
cell in which his body jerked and kicked,
pissing itself till it finally hung limp, dripping,
it was as if I’d stage the suicide myself
in a godly fantasy of pay back, eye for eye, redress,
but the scales just wouldn’t stop trembling,
quivering, off-kilter but barely, almost
but never quite still, or even, like an undershirt
I may have blindly put on backwards or inside out
because now it fits and doesn’t, isn’t right and is.

Alan Shapiro’s most recent book of poetry if Life Pig, published in 2016 by University of Chicago Press.

 

You Might Also Enjoy

Famous Men

Mike Newirth

I have met the famous men, the gaunt Caucasians with the powers you’ve heard about and thought you could fight, the. . .

stories

From Aurora

Kim Stanley Robinson

Excerpted from Kim Stanley Robinson’s new novel Aurora, published July 7, 2015, by Orbit Books. So there they were: in the. . .

stories

Outside My Window

Rick Perlstein

Outside my window: a gray day in Ann Arbor. Two cops—in shorts, on bicycles—glide by. A roiling sea of blue and gold middle-aged. . .

stories

Baffler Newsletter

new email subscribers receive a digital copy of our current issue.

Further Reading