She thinks Jimmy is a dolt,
all cows and Fords,
typical of her tenth-graders
retaking English 9. She could back
him into the sink and scrub his head with shampoo
and maybe some flea dip.
His Assignment 4: letter to a friend is to Blake,
dead a year from his own rifle.
Went to his dad’s field, shot the cows and then himself.
She can see him walking in grass waist high
touching his forehead to the soft, brown neck fur
brushing a fly off the rump.
She can see Jimmy casting a fly
into the river
smashing a rock against the skull
of an already dead fish
crushing the fine bones that socket an eye.
I wish I could see you once more
in a firm, childish hand why
did you take the cows?
Maggie Rosen lives in Silver Spring, Maryland. She grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina. Her poems have appeared in Beltway, Cider Press Review, Conclave, Barely South, Blood Lotus, qarrtsiluni, Sow’s Ear, Minimus, and Plainsongs. Her chapbook, Carolina Theatre, will be published by Red Bird Chapbooks in 2016.