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Sydney Sackett


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when we shoot my daddy on the front porch, girl,
the way you squeal ‘n hug your arms around me,
I know we’re it. his brains still dryin on your soft wet yellow hair and my
God, the way you drag my mama out the bedroom
like an angel in the Bible, all eyes and fire
and reckoning. we put two in her head and I’m walkin from the door
when you say ain’t you forgettin something and wait there for
your kiss on the mouth. I'm thinkin, how’d I get so lucky
with a crazy one like you?

by morning, we’re the new-livin Clyde and Bonnie on every
newscaster’s dirty tongue, but I think it sounds grand. you catch my face
on the TV, start screamin that’s us, laughin and cryin like there ain’t no
difference tween ‘em. we hold up a gas station. I’m thinkin
we’ll let the counter girl run, but you put two in her back
‘fore even spittin out your bubblegum. you taste like salt ‘n sugar
and you come near to runnin my foot over, you’re so excited
to keep drivin.

girl, I get my doubts, but you still make me pray
that we get where we’re goin. we shoot up some folks
when we need to change cars, or when we’re broke or when you’re fixin
to hear ‘em beg. when I’m skittish, you start kissin on ‘em
till I got to shoot so you’ll come back. you taste more ‘n more like sweat
and less like bubblegum. in the newsreels, you always wait for our
photo, screamin that’s us again, but for the first time I’m seein
the dead folks too, thinkin, ain’t that us?

you pick off a little boy who’s comin out the cinema with
his sister, and you’re linin up on her too when I ask
damn, girl, ain’t it enough? you turn that .38 so fast on me
I think I wake up in Hell for a second. I see you weigh it in your brain like
you’re callin tails on a two-headed nickel. then you’re kissin me again,
drivin us out and bustin every speed limit but I don’t
sleep for two days, watchin your hands rustle
under the pillow where I keep the gun.

by the time the cops catch up with us, I’m seein doubles,
a whole parkin lot of yous and yous, dancin ‘n howlin a storm to
egg me on. I take a slug in my leg and I’m scared, bad. everyone’s
screamin to each other. I’m cryin. ain’t it enough, girl? ain’t we done?
you kiss me so sweet but it won’t fix things no more. I push you
off and throw my hands high, stumblin into sunlight, and they’re still
aimin at us. I say, don’t shoot, we’re comin out, it’s over, we’re done,
till I realize you ain’t let the gun go at all, and my mouth tastes like bubblegum and
my lip’s leakin blood, and I can’t beg nothin else
‘fore they clean out your head with one bullet.

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