Derek Richards

mud puddles and misdemeanors


matthew picks a perfect stone 
smashes the store front window 
with a frantic fastball 
catches his smile in the puddle currently 
soaking through to his socks 
it's an awkward moment of self-analysis 
bad judgement but good aim 

sheilah was going to show up 
for work tomorrow 
keys held in those fragile fingers 
a heart-break analogy 
of violent shattered glass 
of course she would call immediately 
i'm so sorry 
can you forgive me? 

judge bennett is not a romantic 
rarely pauses for effect 
stains the sympathetic whispers 
with scornful enunciation 
views first time offenders simply as rookies 
in the vicious game of crime 
and serves them as career criminals 

matthew glances around the courtroom 
for the comfort of her pretty face 
observes the apathy of drunk drivers, 
petty thieves and meth addicts 
when the verdict is handed down 
he hardly hears it 
unrequited love is a rumbling buzz 
a guilty innocence 
sincerity captured in a puddle 

—Derek Richards

Originally published in Strong Verse.

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