The dancers

The officer comes in, straight face
the focus, he knows, is de-escalation
despite the mother’s bruises and her children’s tears
what happened here
is simple in the way nothing is, ever
It’s 1977 or 8 or 9
the time, it runs together when you see the same faces day by day
He, the husband has been drinking, again
shouting slurred words, imagined offenses
And the wife, with her children behind her just asks that he please leave
So the children can sleep
So that they can have peace, though the oldest one knows it’s just temporary
The officer can see it in her eyes, the kid, no more than 6 who dialed 911 because her mother was taking blows and couldn’t get to the phone…
He says, “come on sir, let’s go”
takes the husband by the arm and guides him outside, where the blue and white lights of his cruiser cast eerie dancing shadows on the homes facade.
They are visitors, these shadows.
Reminders to the officer that all is not well here,
And he thinks of his wife and his child, at home.

S.O.S.

You think you’ll find love
and you do for a moment
in the arms of a boy
with eyes that see into
the places other people won’t
or can’t
And you fashion an image
of happy ever after
very much like the movies
you watched with your grandpa
before he died
Only the rescue
never happens
the sun goes down
and rises without him
And you realize
you were holding
the life preserver all along…