Jack Henry

the thinness of walls, 3

a crowd gathers outside room 13,
a battle rages inside –
i step from my room close by
as a woman screams –

scared faces look at me,
various people from various worlds –
‘do something,’ they say, without using words –
the proprietor runs up,
cops will be here soon,
but soon is not soon enough –

a woman screams again –
i kick in the door of room 13 –

a man holds a woman by the throat,
lets her go,
his hands clench into tight fists –
my hands clench too –

the first blow put him down –
blow after blow after blow,
knuckles bloodied,
bones broken –
knockout decision –

the woman looks at me,
grabs her clothes, steals his keys,
takes his car, and disappears clean –
i snatch up a rolled of bills,
a fat bag of dope,
and turn for the door –

the crowd thins, back to their hiding –
the proprietor says,
the cops will be here soon
but not soon enough –

i  make the interstate,
fade & flow into a shimmering night –
pull into a rest stop thirty miles east –
quartzsite, arizona

a beaten women frozen behind the wheel of a stolen
car looks at me,
waves meekly,
eyes glassy & gone
i give her half the cash recently acquired from an
unconscious man –

sometim​es life is worth everything,
sometimes only half –

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