after "Pass Over" by Linda Gregerson:
1. Plague of Jokers
You make a smart face at a cop, the cop
you’re bad, he said. No matter thugs
down the road are fleeing, Shooter’s
the back of the van such a pack
of procurers and half-dressed whores they’ll
rip your nuts right off. You know
what the sargeant said through the mesh?
Ten people jammed back here, whiskey breath
where it’s not fresh vomit. They shuffle
cause at least it’s not cold inside
like flat on a park bench under newsprint
in cardboard next to a wall. The cop
is fat, the face convinced him you mocked him, and
you’re one of the johns. Say your prayers.
If anyone might have saved you, my guess is that pimp’s
a mile away.