Mugshot by Sara Burge

Mugshot | Sara Burge

Of course, my old boyfriend is shirtless 
in the article my mother sends me 
about two dudes stealing catalytic converters 
in church parking lots. At first
I think she’s discovered Florida Man memes. 
But this is Ozarks Man.
Fewer alligators. More meth.
I text once I realize whose face isn’t looking at me, 
isn’t close to drunk or angry or even indifferent. 
Just a face on a shirtless body, 
a body so much older than the last time I saw it. 
Mom texts 
but I know the difference in wreckage, 
how the body puffs when pickled, eats itself 
when sleep or food is forgotten. I remember 
how he would help my mother around the house, 
clear gutters without being asked.
Every time I’ve thought of him since,
he is laughing. Not like this.

My mother says her heart is broken
            What on earth happened to him?

and I remember when I begged him
to tell me what he saw 
when he found my brother’s body 
three days dead. He started to cry 
then stopped, looked me dead in the eye.
            You don’t ever want to know that

Sara Burge is the author of Apocalypse Ranch, and her poetry has appeared in or is forthcoming from Virginia Quarterly Review, Willow Springs, Prairie Schooner, The American Journal of Poetry, Passengers Journal, River Styx, and elsewhere. She is the Poetry Editor of Moon City Review.