Before he moved in it was peaceful.
All picnics, BBQs on blanket beaches,
long drives in pastel convertibles.
My Kenny had an army jeep,
an absolute steal from (sips tea) a neighbour.
He said when I rode in it,
I became even more perfect.
The contrast! − my angel face
against the camo.
Steve tried to threaten Kenny,
Kenny was just retaliating,
just protecting me −
Steve wore these bright red swim shorts. Too bright.
Everything about those people is so . . .
Ken ripped those right off, my brave bull,
tossed them into the sea.
Steve was so black he never bruised, I mean
crime went up in the area! Tools all over the beach,
my Kenny having to keep a fork – a real fork
under his pillow, I said, Baby, leave it, forget him
but Kenny said it was the principle
and I giggled.
Kenny says my giggle is intoxicating.
He un-velcroed my ballgown,
right there on the beach, we −
(plays with pendant)
When I awoketh − that’s the right word, isn’t it? −
Kenny was gone. My phone was back at the log cabin
along with my shoes. Otherwise I would’ve called or . . . (shrugs)
I don’t like to talk about this −
OK, fine, he went looking
walking home from the pool-bar he worked
Ken crimped him into the back of the jeep.
There was punching, kicking, spitting,
force – I mean, allegedly (rolls eyes,
stubs out cigarette)
But you know the worst thing?
(turns to Ken) Tell them, Baby,
tell them what you told me
− about the blood,
how it couldn’t even well
in his eyes.
This poem is taken from My Darling from the Lions by Rachel Long, forthcoming from Picador in August 2020.