Janet Hagelgans

First Kill
by Janet Hagelgans

When he shows you the picture he took in Baghdad
after his father baked his famous crab cakes,
after the Seahawks started killing the Rams,
after you went out back to make a phone call
and found him just standing there holding a cigarette,
after his mother had told you how she’d taken him
down to Tahoe since he’d been big enough to fly,
her son, who needs two beers to fall asleep
and leaves the TV on static all night,
when he shows you the photo
he’s had in his phone since before he had Junior
he doesn’t blink, he looks at you and you look at him
and the two of you are a couple of people
standing together in the wet grass on a starless night
off a dirt road in Skagit County, Washington,
twentysomething miles southwest of Mount Baker
and fourteen miles east of the bay and past that
the ocean, but the whole family’s still inside
so you hand him his phone and go back to the house,
except you don’t, neither of you do, not really.

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 1.

Janet HagelgansJanet Hagelgans holds a degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland. Her poetry has appeared in the Potomac Review, Atticus Review, Common Ground Review, and Thrush Poetry Journal.

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