The Orange Room Review

Accessible poetry of substance

she told me her mother slept with a revolver

by Justin Hyde

the bow-walled trailer
was in a bad neighborhood
outside of saint louis.

my girlfriend
and her mom
went to take cans back
and get some hotdogs
for dinner.

i played a nascar game
on the x-box
with her boyfriend.

rodney told me
the bricklayer's union
had been thin
but it'd pick up
in a month or two,
he had big plans
to build a deck
out front.

it was known
that he beat
her mother.

at the time
there was a bruise
taking color
across her left

the sleeves
of his flannel shirt
were rolled up,

he had the forearms
of a body builder,

on the four fingers
of his right hand.

their toilet
was busted.

when he went
to the neighbors
to take a shit
i walked back
into their bedroom.

it was there
under the

i swung out
the cylinder.

the chambers
were full.

a garbage bag
was taped
over a cracked

the headboard
was covered
in small pewter

whaddya doin'
in mom's room?

my girlfriend’s
four year old
who had been sleeping
was standing
in the doorway.

i wanted to see
the unicorns,
i said
while sliding the revolver
tight down my thigh
and back
under the pillow.

this is her favorite,
she grabbed one
and held it out
in her palm.

there was
a deep groove
into its side.

she showed me
how her mother
rubbed it
back and forth
with her thumb
for good luck.

JUSTIN HYDE lives in Iowa, where he attempts to rehabilitate criminals for a living. He has a blog here: