Ramrod in Prison by Wayne F. Burke

“Hey Ram,” Tony says
“tell me about the guy
you shot–
why’d you shoot him?”
“Because I did not like the
look of his face.”
Tony laughs:
“yea, I can relate;
once I hit a guy because
I did not like the tone
of his voice.”
Tony stands in the corner of the cell,
mixing himself an instant coffee.
Sounds of some kind of argument in the hall–
screams–
I can tell
by the slant of the sun through the window
that it is time for “Andy of Mayberry” on TV.
We watch it everyday.
Tony calls it “Paleberry”
because of there not being any black people
on the show.
“But who was he?” Tony asks.
“I mean, to you?”
“Nobody. A scum bag. Had it written on his face.”
“So you were performing community service?”
“Cops did not want me to go to jail,
but the judge did.”
Tony stirs his coffee;
the spoon goes tink tink on the cup.
“It was an accident,” I say.
“You mean you did not mean to shoot him?”
“I mean I did not pull the trigger. It wounds weird,
I know–I don’t know how the gun went off.”
Tony smiles, the fucker.
He has a bull neck and big arms
but I can take him–
I can take anybody–
You don’t fuck with Ramrod!”
“Take it easy,” Tony says, “I believe you!”
I sit back down.
“The judge thought I was full of shit too.”
“Them judges, man…they be full of it themselves,
some of them. Judge give me five to ten for nothing!”
“You were framed?”
“Damn right!”
“I believe you.”
(Hell, why not? We got to live together here
in this
steel box).

wayne-f-burke
Wayne F. Burke’s poetry has appeared in a variety of publications (including “In Between Hangovers”). His three published poetry collections, all from Bareback Press, are WORDS THAT BURN, DICKHEAD, and KNUCKLE SANDWICHES. His chapbook PADDY WAGON is published by Epic Rites Press. He lives in Vermont.
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