Brian Clifton A Man Asks What My Greatest Heist Would Be

We tromped from the north

to Florida’s green tip.


The neon barrooms

and their serpentine movements


*


called to us with their chemical scent. John draped


himself across the couch

in the midday light, his box

of machinist tools splayed


open, its metal instruments

scattered across the floor. I asked,


What is more beautiful than an empty lot?

I expected nothing


*


from the pills I’ve been prescribed.

I expected nothing

from “my condition” except that light


within my brain will throb until my body

goes flaccid. We stared at the lot next door—


razed to the ground after the police found the remains


*


of six men scattered under the lawn.

John said nothing, moved a hand


across his torso. Outside,

a bike wheel’s chirping

slowed to a hiss.


The night before, we were all mirrors and strobe—


a single body undulating

a morsel down its long, long ribcage.


*


There were reports the murderer

stuffed the men’s throats with plastic


tubing and poured Drain-o into their stomachs


until it frothed out,

that he snaked their orifices clean,

that animals were used to digest


some of the corpses. My lover asked,

What would your perfect heist be? The empty


*


lot shuddered in the breeze. And we talked about get-a-way


cars, the team we would need,

the intricate brains of a bank safe.

We talked until the day is bled dry.


We both know there are several ways a man can die


and murder is only one of them. We know how love


coils its letters through violence.

Above us, our neighbors drape their python’s

skin around their planter boxes.


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