Features issue 31 poetry

Shooting at Oakbrook Apartments

by Jenny Molberg

Zeta by Cynthia Yatchman

Shooting at Oakbrook Apartments

My neighbor held a gun to his chest
and with the other hand, his son,

captive for being his son. The bullet
punctured the man, the window, then the air

above my head as I peered over the fence.
A bullet to the chest can miss the heart.

Square in their studded epaulets and pressed
blue trousers, the officers did not call for backup,

puzzling under the apartment, walkie-talkies
staticking like wasps from their hips.

Luck is the brain’s way of fooling yourself.
My neighbor lived. His son lived. The mother,

beating against the bathroom door, lived.
The cops left in their boats for the glutted swamp.

No passive voice—breeze taped out of a window’s hole.
My neighbor was making a choice.

Even then I knew I would never give birth.

Jenny Molberg is the author of three poetry collections: Marvels of the Invisible (Tupelo Press, 2017), Refusal (LSU Press, 2020), and The Court of No Record (forthcoming from LSU Press, 2023). An NEA fellow, her work has recently appeared or is forthcoming in VIDA, Ploughshares, The Missouri Review, The Rumpus, The Adroit Journal, AGNI, Oprah Quarterly, and other publications. She is an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Central Missouri, where she directs Pleiades Press and edits Pleiades magazine.

Cynthia Yatchman is a Seattle-based artist and art instructor. She shows extensively in the Pacific Northwest. Past shows have included Seattle University, the Tacoma and Seattle Convention Centers, and the Pacific Science Center. Her art is housed in numerous public and private collections.