The amber spirit ran down his face, onto his shirt,
and made a pool of sticky sweet on the floor.
His eyes remained open, trance-like. I had taken
the curl from his lip and arrested his smug smile
identical to the one in the photo above his bed.
The mirror behind him revealed how the liquid
matted the black circuitry of curls on his head and
made an amoeba-shaped stain on his faux suede sofa.
The mood in the room went dark,
like a reel in a silent film. His friends
gasped and held their drinks tightly.
His sister grabbed a towel and rushed toward him.
Raymond raised his index finger as if to say
wait, be still; let’s just see how this plays out.
Elbow resting on his knee, Raymond’s slender fingers
curled into a question mark on his forehead;
but meditation birthed no witty reply.
He offered no words in his own defense,
neither mendacious nor sincere.
His acerbic tongue refused to acknowledge
the revelation of the moment the universe
stood still because the hunter had been so
triumphantly outmatched by his prey.
Wanda Jackson writes, publishes, and recites poetry in San Diego, California, and has been featured in the nationally recognized San Diego Poetry Annual in 2009 and 2011. She began writing poetry, short stories and essays as a young girl in Chicago, the city that holds her heart and is often the subject of her writing.