dog cloud over Manhattan
interrupting conversations to point at dogs in public
Just a bad kid.
[ It’s something he’s heard before, as
an English runaway it was some
sort of mantra stuck in his head, on
repeat from the mouth of the store
owners that usually end up noticing
the missing snacks and water bottles. ]
But that’s okay.
( he pauses. a defence is ready
on his mouth — not a bad kid,
i didn’t mean that either — but
he lets it go. he’s curious over
the boy’s passive acceptance. )
”Did you ever hear the joke about pizza?”
“The definitive joke about pizza?”
That’s not an understatement.
So are you calling me a middle of
the road person?
Would that be a bad thing?
”well. ain’t that a relief, had me
swallowin’ down my stomach there
for a minute.”
[ sugary lilt, impersonal and distracted.
he doesn’t very much care for
that cough of feathers. ]
( will’s voice loses some of its learned
briskness; becoming treacly — slower:
impersonating the impersonal, picking
up the rhythm of flippancy, but leaving
it off-kilter and too deliberate. )
Is your conscience a sore spot?”
( Prolonged pause. )
( his voice tries to be soothing
but the ticking pause he
takes to consider her before
he speaks robs him of his
warmth; the second’s pause
gives him a metronome’s
wary countenance. )
— There’s no need to look nervous.
Well, you’re not calling me a /good/ person.
Good seems a much more — severe sentiment than bad.
—A more delicate balance. Too fragile to impose on you.
As if it is trapping.
I'm not calling you a bad person.
( he’s careful where he puts his inflection here,
not on I’m, not on bad: barely dodging a bullet,
his wing clipped. )
[ her own amusement is equally spiteful,
challenging in its decaying glory. ]
Of course, the secret illustrious life
of Special Agent Will Graham.
How could I have forgotten.
( he stares at her, silent. the
twitch of his frown is
animalistic between his
brows; a scavenger bird’s
uneasy wings; the flicker
of a pig’s black eyes.
carnal confusion, sensing
If you want to say something –– say it.