Till It’s Gone

by Peter Kahn


a Golden Shovel after Joni Mitchell


When I tell you about Steve, don’t

think just because he killed someone, it


means he’s a dog to put down.  There’s always

two sides and while it may well seem


that his story reeks of bug-eyed maggots, to

judge him without the bullet’s story is to go


down a light-less dead-end street that

isn’t a street after all.  When I ask you


to listen for the clink of ricochet, don’t

forget to hear the surprise in his voice.  Know


he aimed high at stars, not people, to escape what

would be an L platform of snarling fists.  You’ve


no idea what blood and teeth taste like.  Got

no idea what it’s like when your mom shoots up till


you’re sleeping in shit, ripped away by DCFS.  It’s

like you’re riding a razor.  All sense of up, gone.