Kettle of Fish

Observing from a corner

In our local coffee shop

I overheard white-haired women

Discussing a recent tragedy.

He was a teacher in Carrolton.

They were separated.

He thought she had a lover.

He went to her home at 3am.

He stabbed her to death

Then shot himself.

“Pretty kettle of fish,” they said,

As though this violent theft

Was something frivolous –

A nuisance, a mess,

Not the bloody end of an entire universe

Viciously ripped from its house of flesh.


My mother just left

The abusive alcoholic

Who once choked her

In front of her children.

Her naked baby stood up wailing,

Arms spread in awful terror

Shaking and shining slickly,

dripping soapy suds and tears

into the half-filled kitchen sink.

Should my father get drunk and

Suspect an affair,

Or realize my mother will never come back,

Or expecting divorce, fear for his fortune –

I do not doubt for a moment

He would steal her life,

Spray her insides onto a wall,

Or shred her body with steel and rage.

My mind is slick with her future carnage.

All I can do is hope she is careful.

Pretty kettle of fish.



HS 11-5-2016


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