Spotlight: For Eric Garner, Who Lost Staten Island

For Eric Garner, Who Lost Staten Island

Inside the brain of a bank,
where the world is,
I sold my breath
but then my breath was taken
and sold back to me.
You cannot sell your breath,
I was told, as if it were gold,
or chopped up change,
or dollars that could be pulverized
and used as air.
You cannot sell a grain of bread,
a crust of morning thirst,
a still life of a snowman holding
a bronchial child as she sleeps
a little closer, they told me
while I choked on the ground
and choked on my eyes
and choked on a page of the Advance
and tried to trick the sunlight
that was no longer real.
You cannot drink the water
more than once, not for free.
You cannot look at the moon
more than once, not for free.
You cannot comprehend the weight
of a cigarette more than once, not for free.
You cannot pet the sugared coals
you stole from your first, second,
or seventh Christmas trauma,
not for free, they told me
when only the chambers
of a shattered dark dandelion were real.


random553-2_optRob Cook lives in New York City’s East Village. He is the author of six collections, including Empire in the Shade of a Grass Blade (Bitter Oleander Press, 2013), The Undermining of the Democratic Club (Spuyten Duyvil, 2014), and Asking My Liver for Forgiveness (Rain Mountain Press, 2014). Work has appeared in Versal, Rhino, Caliban, Fence, Fifth Wednesday Journal, Thrice Fiction, Great Weather For Media, Small Portions, Arsenic Lobster, Space & Time, Osiris, Phantom Drift, Weirdbook, Up the Staircase Quarterly, The Birds We Piled Loosely, Posit, Zoland, Pear Noir!, Mudfish, Borderlands, Tampa Review, etc.