by Patrick Fiorilli

Artwork, “5 of Hearts” by Alexa Gaffaney

If I remember it correctly,

You were sitting

On the pink brick

Sidewalk in Connecticut,

Wearing a green jacket,

And a pair of faded jeans

That rolled up just enough

To show the tops

Of inky sneakers.

Your head was fallen

Over into arms

That rested limp

On bended knees.

You were as still

As the policemen

Who surrounded you.


You didn’t look dead.

You looked tired.


You deserve to know

I used your circumstance,

Or at least

My recollection,

As the basis

For a story, once.

I submitted it

To a contest.


It won

An honorary mention.


I had to modify

Some things,

Of course,

Like the city,

To lower all the buildings.

And the time of day,

To shift the shadows

Where I wanted them.

And I had to adjust

The direction

You were facing,

So as you died

You would have seen

The sun ascend above

My fictive rooftops.

It made the ending

More poetic.


But you didn’t look poetic

When I saw you

From the backseat

Of my parents’ passing car.

You just looked tired.


All the poetry came later.

All the poetry was made up.

The poetry always comes later.

The poetry is always made up.


I’ve come to realize
That’s the reason people like it.

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