The Hustler (1961)

Jessica Scicchitano

I was asleep for the scene of Sarah’s suicide.
I remember her arrival at the derby
then nothing the billiards then nothing
your thumbnail digging the stack of my palm
checking I still push on. I know that when you leave
in the morning, you will be shocked with relief.

It is horrible the way I just fell asleep,
sad as a child filthy with luxury, it couldn’t be
fell back to a night where we defiled an Orange County cotillion
violently sloshing punch, declaring poetry is a selfish music!,
you all bones and back, ghostly wings before the windows
gouging your eyes out, going on to sterilize the morning.

Suicides fell down my sleep. My bracelets oxidized
from the meek pressing of our bones.
I wake periodically, organs loud in wanting,
it was simple, wanting to be alive, awake.
I could clutch you out of fear screaming
but I know there are no holidays in June!