white male



when the police arrived

he was holding a damp clump

of brown paper towels

to the swell on his forehead

he stood shaking

as he explained

how he was taken

into the backroom

struck with the handgun butt

awaking later

crumpled against boxes 

head aching

the liquor store empty

and the cash register 

open and stripped bare

he tried to keep his gaze steady

and hoped they’d read

his anxious stutter

as a symptom 

of assault

rather than probable cause

to search his car

and discover

the paper sack

stuffed with bills

plenty to fuel more nights

where he could drink himself

to black

waking later

with inexplicable injuries

and able purpose

wearing only

his assumption of innocence

March 2015

Julie Ayers


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