if i
throw this rock
from this step
across the street
and hit that door

a man in his undershirt
stained with spaghetti
hair arranged
by unsettled sleep

breath burning
with cheap booze
and bile

breath churning
from a body

breath turning
every word to
a curse

will spill
like a cyclone
into the street—

the anger of
a hundred insults
a thousand shames
a million failures
salting the sweat
that seeps
from his brow
like poison—

and stop.

the world is
too big
the battle
too old

and so naked rage
will be robbed
from him, and
he will be undone

i already know this, and
he doesn’t need to

and so i let the rock
slip from my hand

This poem originally appeared in the 2009 collection Sixty-Six.