Stevieslaw: Barry

Barry
I made his bail
in some crappy
little courthouse
in the Panhandle.
I don’t recall
the name for
what he’d sold.
The sun was high
and the light had
turned the town
an astonished white.

After, we ate
biscuits, eggs and grits,
drowned in the
deep red country
gravy so often
served in the South,
at an aging diner by
the railroad tracks.

We hardly talked
my brother and I—
our common past
as forsaken as
the tracks we sat beside.
He ate quickly. His
features flashing
lined and yellowed
in the dying fluorescent
bulb, half hanging from
a ceiling browned
with age and grease.
I watched in silence
as his forked hand shook.

Barry left
in the beat up truck
our mom had bought
him twenty years
ago, or so,
as I fingered the
keys to my rental.
The truck was blood
red once. We both
knew that he’d
jump bail.

I watched him
make his snaky
way to SR 20,
and then,
no wiser,
left for home.

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