In the story I keep trying to tell, there’s a woman
handcuffed in the driveway.
She’s thrashing against the officers, cursing, spitting
on them, her breath rising in the cold air until it
disappears, and they shut the Charger’s back seat door.
All seven of us kids
are watching from her bedroom window overlooking
the garage, our faces
shocked with police light.
When my brother and I were smaller, we found
a bird in the backyard that had pecked itself
raw, almost featherless, and continued
digging into its own quivering flesh.
We rushed inside to tell our mother,
her hands still dripping with sink water
when she swept us into her arms and said
to stay away from the diseased thing,
there was nothing we could do.
Max McDonough grew up near Atlantic City, NJ, but escaped to Virginia halfway through high school. He is currently an MFA candidate at Vanderbilt University, head nonfiction editor for the Nashville Review, and has work appearing or forthcoming in Gulf Coast, CutBank, The Adroit Journal, and elsewhere.