The Detectives Dawn sforzandos a brass-swelling 70s detective-show theme, while in bed I catch the fanfare as it bleeds through a window. I am the space in first light’s chalk outline, the mystery this morning that needs a solve. And I, too, am the detective who’ll kill the whole damned day finding the black-hearted sonofabitch who did this to me, does, leaves me like this, broken every night for the morning’s grim discovery. This case is a no-thanks job and no one has to take it. Though, from where I’m lying, among shadows ducking through a shades-drawn room, there’s no losing my killer’s company. I anticipate tonight’s shock, the trumpets’ stab, when the culprit unmasked bears my own face. Well— no pretending at surprise, not anymore. Too many times the big reveal. Barely good for a laugh. What is good for mercy’s sake is when I, restless at the witching hour, wander to the store for a bottle of tough love or a box of cereal for morning, and there are the other detectives pushing along, picking out supplies. Maybe they’re years, maybe minutes, from solving for the first or thousandth time their own cases. Everyone this late, under the muting fluorescents of the checkout line, hoping for, needing, a new killer.
Greg McClure's poetry has appeared in The Susquehanna Review, Faultline, and Flaunt magazine. He writes, teaches, and walks his dog, Donut, in Irvine, California. You can find him, too, over at fallingrockets.com.