ryan quinn flanagan | riding shotgun over cemeterey lawns parched brown with summer

Riding Shotgun Over Cemetery Lawns Parched Brown with Summer

The bookstore window was broken
but nothing appeared to be
taken
and I remember thinking to myself:
why not hit a bank
or a slider out of Fenway
or pull a little red wagon
with a stuffed bear riding shotgun
over cemetery lawns
parched brown with
summer?


The sidewalk had a funny way of walking
so I stopped out front that bookstore
just north of Evans
and laughed
as I caught my reflection laughing
like a bruised mannequin
all out of Band-Aids
or a philanthropist in a mason jar
under the sink of
misfortune.


A splash of liquid courage from a trench coat pocket
and the eyes in the window
began to squint as camera
shutters
to make out the title of a
book a few racks
away:


and…they…did…not…die…
Lauretta…Ngcobo…


Who did not die?
I remember thinking,
isn’t mortality the last stop
on every line?
But I did not have time as the sirens
grew closer
and the bookstore window had not broken
itself
and there was no one else
around.

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