sometimes with mercy, sometimes without

deon robinson

miles mcmahon

The police officer won’t stop tapping his foot at the intersection of 184th and Marion. I watch him as I talk on the phone under the peeling roof of a bodega. He keeps tapping his foot, mumbles about how slow of a day it’s been. I wonder if safety gets overrated, if Chekhov ever brought a pistol into a theater. Maybe a man slinging heavy metal is what puts food on the table. Maybe that’s why we keep our monsters so close to our beds, in the closet with the rest of the skeletons. He reminds me of the detective who was gunned down over on 181st by my old job. The one who smelled of petrichor, who named all three of her children after biblical references; Genesis, Peter, Delilah. The one who had blood singed into her uniform, who looked so pretty flaunting the Puerto Rican pastel. Some say she was a good mother, would go so far as to call her the patron saint of single mothers. Others say she was a good cop. Some say she did the nation proud and I think how typical to see a woman dissected before the wake. Everybody took a piece of her home, she died so many people at the same time but never all of them simultaneously. The Latinos lined up like railroad tracks on the Grand Concourse, to see white men raise the wrong red, white and blue flag. What a forged signature. What cold, congealed blood. What a shame.