after they shot his son in the back

he drove around
all night
with a pistol
in his lap:

pulled it
on five kids
with similar coats

held it
to his own head.

his son
survived

he moved him
and his wife
to an apartment in houston
to escape the gangs

he's got
three years
until a vested state retirement

so he's still here
all alone
in the big old house

tag on his head
because his son testified
at trial.

told me he keeps
a gun under his pillow

at the front door
the back door

three hidden
like easter eggs
out in the yard

last night
he heard voices out back

followed tracks
in the snow
down the alley

son-of-a-bitch
had an AK,
a neighbor called out
from the window.

a mortgage here
and a family in houston
is a tough float
on a prison guard's salary

bill collectors
call for him steady
here at work

nobody
by that name
works here,
we've all learned
to say

but it's
mostly true

even before
all this went down

he was a
lazy fuck.

i let it
ride.