TODD MERCER won the Dyer-Ives Kent County Prize for Poetry, the National Writers Series Poetry Prize and the Grand Rapids Festival Flash Fiction Award. His digital chapbook, Life-wish Maintenance, appeared at Right Hand Pointing. Mercer's recent poetry and fiction appear in 100 Word Story, Defenestration, The Lake, Literary Orphans, Praxis, Split Lip Magazine and The Magnolia Review.
State Street Corridor Beat Cop, Beat
The purse-snatcher runs from Garfield Boulevard
into Robert Taylor Homes. The responding officer
offers to file a report, but he’s not a crazy person.
There’s no way he’s going up in there, a lawless complex
of pathology, gangbangers and government cheese.
Don’t you know, lady? They gun down hundreds
every weekend in these projects. Life is
dirt cheap here. How they don’t run out of people,
that’s beyond my understanding. We won’t
set foot in there at night. Our badges
draw the wrong attention. Buy you a new purse.
Get some friends in better neighborhoods.
Robert Taylor’s no place for a
nice white woman to knock on doors,
looking for what’s lost. I didn’t make
this problem plaguing us, and I can’t fix it.
Don’t cut me
out of curiosity.
Karma is a motherfucker,
if you wake it from slumber,
when exhausted by settling scores.
Karma will set me straight as well.
It won’t need a knife,
The Surveyor Would’ve Named it