Blue wheelbarrow belly thick with ice
Layers of photographs frozen warped
Stacked all but invisible under translucent
Ice except for one. Recto: gangrenous corpse
Middle-aged man bloated purpled
At least 72 hours gone, burned by a son
With a penchant for arson and patricide
I think. My father can’t remember anymore
All the polaroids in evidence old case photos
Blown up and printed on poster board for
Courtroom sessions. He either clinched a prosecution
Or didn’t. So many years, so many Commonwealth of Pennsylvania vs.
Now we are left to dispose of the evidence:
Burn, shred, freeze. Some copies are still on file
Some copies ashed in our fireplace some copies
Frozen in our wheelbarrow waiting for thaw waiting
To be congealed then dried out and scraped pulpy like
Confetti into a trash bag placed on the curb come one Monday
Sit right beside me and we are hitchhiker, ghost.
State lines speed limits blur as we tip
Into Indiana, Illinois. Midwest winter glittering
Harsh under gray sun. Undereyes violet grip
The steering wheel with windchapped knuckles
& stare at the number on the house, reconciled with
+1 (309)-XXX-XXXX. Car heater dries out our mouth
There was nothing I could do to save you then, but now
We turn the radio low, we have to make a decision.
Lights on in the house can either of us feel
Justified through cracked frost on the windshield.
I used to sleep in Walmart parking lots
So I wouldn’t have to deal with this shit.
Snow sticks. Time evaporates. Winter pools at our feet.
Baseball bat / slashed tires / crowbar / bloody knuckles /revenge fantasy
House door opens & outside of us he smokes under the porchlight
We sit side by side & stare at the end of the story
We know: turn the car around & go home.
Faith Ellington is a PhD candidate at Louisiana State University.