American Momma keeps a toy gun
in the glass china cabinet she got
from the basement of that building that burned down
with two babies and a grandma inside.
She tries to make it look pretty.
Clothed jars of jam mismatched porcelain Polaroids
of decked-out strangers lucky tie-dyed rabbit’s foot
chained for power to the 1977 Kiss lunchbox
& the gun
grouped with linens
its glossy muzzle
denting a doily.
The gun looked so real that once Amatuer Ray mistook it for his
& left on a job with it snug behind the buttonfly of his 501s.
That was the day American Momma found out
her biker bitch neighbor stole
her Playboy Bunny Swimsuit.
It was Lucy’s best.
One-piece halter strap
ghost sheer backless top
midnight bottom ruched across the hi-cut seat
bowtie bunny cut-out stenciled in nude mesh
hip-height of the upper right cheek.
If truth be told
the theft began
a time before
that summer day.
It began the time her neighbor peeped
Lucy in a lawnchair
tanline of bowtie bunny
towel flung on chain-link
wind wobbling the fence
a voice no woman disregards
there are ways prettier to be.
These are dark times
Boxer had been at Lucy and Ray’s for exactly one night.
Boxer stood on the bathroom lino sagging in a swimsuit
dripping from the only bath she had
since living in that car.
American Momma crouched on the toilet
a laundry sack of clothes between her legs
sorting to see if any might fit the child.
The child was diminutive even for a child.
It was becoming clear to American Momma
she would need to get the kid some clothes.
Ever since yesterday it was becoming clear
to American Momma
she was full-up doubled-over
with feelings for the child.
These are dark times
It’s true any thief can traipse through your door
swipe a swimsuit off your radiator
stretch it over her wide ass
I had Ray’s real gun that day
I’m telling you this
cuz I’m not that kind of person
I’m not gonna raise you to be that kind of person
plus you’re my responsibility now
I want to make you safe
(American Momma dead serious spoke)
so don’t go knocking on Apartment 5
That bitch has had it in for me ever since I shot her only lamp.
American Momma was not used to having
feelings for foreigners.
Do you understand me?
She dead serious spoke.
Do you speak English?