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playing inadvertent god at midnight through the pabst haze

sitting here
at midnight
drinking beer


someone pounds
on my window.

i wipe
the spilled beer
from the front
of my t-shirt

get up

and look through
the rip
in the curtain.

she’s standing there –
seven years old
holding a hand
over her left eye

her screaming
siphons through
the screen
and window
and my
beer-soaked brain

i motion her
toward the
front door

and when i open it
she runs around me
into the kitchen.

i shut the door
and find her
curled up
in the corner
by the stove
sobbing like a
runaway funeral.

she isn’t holding
her eye anymore

and I can see it’s
swollen shut
and covered
by a welt
the size of an apple.

or fist.

i say
what the hell
is going on”
while reaching for her

and she swats
my hand away

and says
“it’s her
she’s trying to
kill me
she keeps saying
i’m taking
daddy away from her
and she keeps
hitting me
and throwing me
against the wall
and she went
into the bedroom
to get the gun
and i ran out
the front door
and your light was on
so i banged
on your window
and don’t let her
kill me mister

no one’s
gonna hurt you”
i tell her
too late

and when I
reach out
for her again

she swats
my hand away
one more time.

there’s nothing else
to do
but leave her there

which is
what i do

but not before
grabbing another beer
out of the refrigerator.


after five minutes
she stops crying
and walks
into the living room

and sits
on the floor
in front of me.

she has
water tracks
down her cheeks

and blood
on the front of her
mickey mouse shirt.

“you want a beer”
i ask.


she snorts
a glob of snot

and i can hear it
running down
her throat
like a snail
moving wetly across
a black top driveway
in the kind
of neighborhood
this kind of thing
would never happen in.

i take a pull
off the beercan
and ask her
what apartment number
she lives in.

she mumbles
through another snort.

i get up

open the closet

and find the
baseball bat
i’m looking for
next to
a couple of
empty bourbon bottles.

“watcha gonna do mister”
she asks me.

“just stay here”
i tell her
walking out
the front door.


i take the stairs
to apartment b403
and use the bat
to knock on the door.

i stand there

while the alcohol
screams as loudly
at me
as the woman’s voice
on the other side
of the door.

- terry everton

playing inadvertent god at midnight through the pabst haze

Terry Everton

Pasadena, United States

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