When they raid the house we’re doing nothing.
Michelle makes sure I’m quiet, leads me
through the kitchen crowd, out the back door,
across the porch and through the side gate
until we’re on the sidewalk like lovers strolling
through innocent night; too old to be guilty
of anything; pretending to debate whether copper
should be considered brown or that sea-foam shade
of statues crowning fountains in Italian piazzas.
She questions why we’re running from the air-quote
scene of the crime since those cops could be cops
or just regular dudes dressed as police for Halloween
and I wonder if police aren’t always only people
pretending to be cops; the colors of their uniforms bleeding
into their skin, transforming their identities
on the cellular level down to their very DNA.
When she insists I’m preaching to the choir
I think she says I’m streaking through the fire
which makes me want to hold her hand but I’ve learned
nothing ruins the beauty of flame like touching.
by Brad Johnson