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The waiting room and other awkward silences
(for mom)
Brien Dawson

It’s the muttered choir; the second hand soprano ticking accompanied by small bits of
conversation, scratch of nurses shoes from freshly sanitized linoleum that demonstrate
there are things that happen; everyday things that are unjust/wretched/depraved and I
know man is the great transgressor and is not to be trusted. I can only stand to see so
many eyes swollen to the size of peaches and I know I can only hear so many after work
stories and hear so many screams.

The woman had too much to drink
woke up in a parking lot
with bruises on her knees
throb of torn flesh
between her legs
and tire marks
like fingerprints
on her clothes.

I once witnessed
A woman in an after-hours bar
near 7-mile & Van Dyke
struck suddenly with thick fist
sink
into her bar stool
then to the ground
slow
like a dress falls in the movies.

I sit five stools away
Say
Don’t do anything
to myself
It’s not your business
Light
a cigarette quick
and
watch the smoke
slide around the air
and hang

do anything but

how long can you stand it?
The mirror asks me

I raised off the stool
quickly,
surprising
the ashtray
by grabbing it.

The husband
no more than five stools away
stood
silent smiling drunk
over the woman,
he never saw me coming,
ashtray shattering/ upon cheek bone
landing two quick lefts
into teeth
and down/ he went
like water
easy
fluid
and three kicks to the face followed.

(ending)


 

 

 

 

 

 
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