Steve De France


The phone continues to ring.

I pick up the receiver.
It's someone I don't know
calling from a bar. It's a wrong number.
Loud music. Bar sounds.
"Listen," a drunken voice says,
"Rick done some bad shit last night.
And we had to tie him down.
Do you want to talk to him?"

"Sure," I say.

He came on the line. He calls me Ernie.
"Is that you uncle Ernie?"

"Yeah," I lie in a slack-jawed response.

"I did some bad shit, uncle Ernie,
I broke a bunch of windows out.
And I hurt some people."
"Do me a favor," I say.
"O.K., uncle Ernie.
What do you want me to do?"
"Who called me?"
"Cousin Jack."
"Can you reach him?"
"Yeah, I could. . ."

"I want you to reach over
and slug Jack in the face."
"Absolutely right. Harder'n
you've ever hit anyone
in your life."
"Don't ask,
just do it, NOW."
I hear a thud.
A "Son of a Bitch."
And then, the sound of
things breaking.

Previously published in Miller's Pond

Steve De France was nominated for a Pushcart in both 2002 & 2003. In addition, he won the Josh Samuels annual poetry competition in the USA & A Readers Award in Orbis in England. Some recent publications include Iota, Mid American, Writer's Bloc, Rattle, and California State Poetry Quarterly.

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