You’re twelve and you can’t remember
the last time you slept through the night.
If their raging voices don’t wake you
the tension beneath their smoldering silence will.
Tonight your dad claims he’ll shoot your mom
but she says he hasn’t got
the balls or a gun.
He says it’s only a matter of time.
So you creep over to your bedroom door
and you shove a chair up against it
and hope they won’t decide
to make you their common enemy.
But their voices reach you anyway.
He screams that when he gets that gun
He’s going to shoot her here, here,
here, here, here
Here and finally here!
And from somewhere deep under the covers
you laugh because the asshole
never stopped to reload
But the joke’s on you
When the clock strikes another hour
And you’re awake, dreaming yet again
About leaving one way or another.Joe Lombo is a graduate student in the Creative Writing Program at Rowan. The essay and poems that appear in this issue are the first items he has published. He was born and raised in Northeast Philly and currently resides in Turnersville New Jersey.