A drift of blue in a homeless sky, the piercing screamsin summer, so loud and regular, butterflies flutterto the tune, a screen door instrumental, the whineof the door, how it opens in the mind, the poundingstep of a man’s heavy boots, his bellow, her screams. Peoplegather to see the disco begin, red and blue lights swirlinglike blood like a bruise like a choreographed performance,the men in blue, so many, so much, it turnsinto a ballet of all tragic figures meant to appear elegantand gentle, swarming in swarming out, the sisters hold handsdescending the stairs while a police officer carries a blacktrash bag—cruel Santa Claus, he has tossed their pink clothesinto a sack to take them away. From the police carwindow they look back to see the world as if it were capturedin a snow globe, the scene getting clearer, almost fixed with distance,their street, their house, all the neighbors, rapt audience, the glass is coldon the little sister’s pressed hand; she begs and screams sopranofor her mother—still laid out on the living room floor. Silencetakes them to rooms in houses that don’t know the violent shake of chance. [End Page 192]
j. dee cochran is an assistant editor at Identity Theory. Her work appears in Calyx, Confrontation, Conduit, Third Wednesday, Vermont Literary Review, Connecticut River Review, glassbook, Laurel Review, English Journal, and others.