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Abstract Painting

Area Code (810)

The same deafening .40 pistol used to murder the father wearing the buttoned blood-red jacket at 7:19AM on a regular humid Wednesday as the brown-faced innocents awaited the school bus was the same weapon I learned to break apart and load the leftover pieces of myself into. It was what society would refer to as “Black on Black crime”.

I knew both. Suspect Black. Victim Black.

One year later on one street over, I became the 9-millimeter bullets lodged into my tiled shower wall - a thin partition shielding my flattened pillow from spiraling slugs. I rubbed copper casings between manicured white-tipped fingers. The dispassionate gentleman costumed in black and blue uniform left them behind. What was evidence to a crime that doesn’t rank high enough to solve? No protecting. Barely serving.

I didn’t rest much for weeks after. But deep slumber eventually swallowed me whole as I silently recounted the three memories in which my daddy issues dressed up in size 3x Polo shirts and slammed me across the floor. His thick, cold European-rooted saliva slapped my puberty-sprinkled brown cheeks pink, cooling the burning tears. His sky blue eyes threw jagged nostalgias at my heart. The times when eight-year-old me would sit and twist together strawberry and grape Frooties from the corner store on Pierson Road while my father sang along with his favorite records. Simple joys.

Callused open palms have a vicious way of slapping you back to reality.

I was seventeen years young. And those were just love taps from a man double my age. I knew this to be true because he held me to sleep three hours after. He loved me enough to trust me with his life. After all, he never second-guessed placing his gun in my little metallic purse. It was empty enough. No guidance to carry. No common sense to fill it up with.

One day not soon enough I’d get an all black designer bag and pour in humbled spent bullets from the grit and gratitude my ghetto shot into me.

There’s no place like home.

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