for Sarah

Her voice when she sings is a roomful of cigarette smoke.
A heist gone bad afterwards.
Danger like blood spreading through a pool of water.

A voice ripe with money, but tainted, but bloody.
Freighted with hundreds of years of atrocities.
Abel crying from the earth, bearing witness.

A film flickers on the brick wall behind her.
Tight framing on a terrified face, eyes wide and watery, mouth open but silent.
Her voice beats against the wall and out again.

As she sings seeds split open, curl away from themselves.
Paper straw wrappers unkink from the water.
Black snakes grow up through the pavement, reeking of charcoal.

Next to her a drummer beats on a tin drum.
Small and homely like children are small and homely.
His hands pungent with onions, mouth musty with woodruff.

Every sharp rap plays out in her fingers.
Angry desperation of tears after the war.
Sharp knives against onions, tears and sex, sex and tears.

There’s a derringer holstered behind her guitar.
Sweet promise of violence tucked into her ribcage.
Single cartridge thumping in time to her music.

Under her feet three pedals:
Two for the music,
One for the bomb strapped to her back.