Crystal—The Dead Girl
I knew I wasn’t going to have
a long, boring life: not with Mom
shooting smack even when quacks
warned what it would do to me.
The wonder of it: I went before her,
me trying, most of the time,
to stay straight as someone walking
a traffic line to prove she’s clean
and fit for jury duty, or whatever.
But Lenny and his Mom, Lorraine,
were driving me nuts, demanding
I pay rent in her house no better
than a shooting gallery, and me
Lenny’s fiancée for crap’s sake, not
a floozy renting a room by the week.
Barely better than living with Mom
and her boyfriend, who, when he wasn’t
banging a vein was trying to pump me
full of his B-B’s, and wanted
me and Mom to do him together.
But Christ, Lenny’s a whining runt,
his voice a gate slamming in the wind.
I was out of options, just wanted to sleep,
and if it meant forever, well, so be it:
so I stopped the insulin and started in
on horse again, though I’d plans
to start community college
and become a cosmetologist,
before Lenny and his endless supply
of skank put the keisbosh on that.
Robert Cooperman is a graduate of the Ph.D. Program in Creative Writing from the University of Denver. In the Colorado Gold Fever Mountains (Western Reflections Books) won the Colorado Book Award for Poetry in 2000. The Widow’s Burden (Western Reflections Books) was runner-up for the WILLA Awards from Women Writing the West. Just Drive (Brick Road Poetry Press) and Robert Cooperman’s latest collection is DRAFT BOARD BLUES (FutureCycle Press). Forthcoming from Main Street Rag is THAT SUMMER. My Shtetl won the Logan House Award in 2012. His work has appeared in the Sewanee Review, Mississippi Review, and North American Review. Cooperman lives in Denver with his wife Beth.