Lisa Nielsen and
Jay Young Gerard

Jay Young Gerard
“And Then What Happened”

Inspiration Piece

and then what happened
By Lisa Nielsen


A girl pretends to be asleep,
her mother runs barefoot across the lobby of the apartment building.
She is screaming, “help me help me call the police.”

The man in question is slumped at the kitchen table
surrounded by plates overflowing with cigarette
butts and a bottle of jack daniels on its side,
the sticky brown liquid dripping to the floor like honey.

Neighbors gather at their peepholes.
A man steps out from behind a metal door.
His wife yells, “put some pants on”

The three of them had returned from a family gathering on long island.
The visit ended in its usual way – pleadings from aunts and uncles to stay
to sober up, to stay in the guest bedroom to be driven home
in the morning by someone else, not him. the mother says
“we’re fine.  Stop worrying”.

and so began another swervy ride back to Brooklyn,

the road of which was punctuated by beeps
then irate stares then stunned faces from passengers
in more thoughtful cars.  the little girl looked over at them,
her hands in prayer in the back seat.
she knew the world was turning against her.

police arrive.  voices are raised.  the man leaves.
her mother will be on the phone for hours, telling
and retelling the same story,
the monotony of which lulls the little girl to sleep.

and that’s what happened,
and that was just the beginning.



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One Comment

  1. Posted September 15, 2016 at 7:56 am | #

    Lisa, every time I read one of your pieces I am startled. Familiarity with the work doesn’t seem to quell that sensation. You are remarkable in your ability to see, interpret and express. Thank you for our partnership.