Friday Poem

A Soft, Bright Absence
Oddly enough, relief rises when he opens the door.
The steady thud of his steps, a falling night stick.
He holds me & my heart thumps like the pulse
of red & blue lights. The helicopter whir of anxiety
slows its chopping in my chest. When he’s late,
my searchlight does not go black. I breathe deeper
knowing that his rights have not been read.
His wrists cuffed only by crisp shirt & his father’s
bracelet, shiny as a revolver just cleaned.
When he says hey baby, hey honey, it is
a soft, bright absence of siren and megaphone.

by Tara Betts
from Alehouse Press, 2011