My restless, fitful cousin

Punched a black patient in the hospital.

At Thanksgiving dinner he offered advice he’d gotten

From a prostitute the week before:

“The best part of sex is right after the orgasm.”


One eye had been poked out by a paper clip

when he was in grammar school.

He took a bad trip on Spring Break in Florida

and angel dust took him to schizophrenia.


His mother woke up one night and saw him

Standing over her holding a knife.

He stands in the living room now, big,

One-eyed, scary. Everyone’s left the room

Except my father and I, asking him


what else he had learned.



About alicebarrett

Small town writer
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