The Deaths Offscreen by R.T. Castleberry

We amplify our purgatory
with sloe gin, cracked ice,
tensions of an Urso lighter,
Pall Mall’s in her mother’s Dunhill holder.

With a sense of silk shawls settled
on a love seat,
we have clouded over,
turned country syllables to leery conclusions,
praise and laughter to accusations
of kited checks, click bait gossip.

This precinct is a haunt of bones,
sunstruck fest of pipe or needle, Mezcal worm.
Tired, injured,
my hair chopped careless short,
her eyes gripped in cocaine slumber,
we are intent on violations.

Like a corpse stain on bungalow carpet,
we are skeptical–and angry for it.
Her arm is wrapped, elbow to wrist.
An In Utero tee drapes
bloody from a kitchen table.
We are haphazard children, slicing
Hermes scarves to seal anniversary’s wound.
There is no lie except getting caught.

I am a co-founder of the Flying Dutchman Writers Troupe, co-editor/publisher of the poetry magazine Curbside Review, an assistant editor for Lily Poetry Review and Ardent. My work has appeared in Comstock Review, Green Mountains Review, Santa Fe Literary Review, RiverSedge, Caveat Lector and Your One Phone Call.

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