You say I get a kiss for the blue bandana
around my neck. You say, that’s how we wear them, too.
Lines aren’t so clearly drawn anymore.
Not like that.
No one wants a RICO charge.
Still, you tell me to stop driving through The Hill—
even if it’s just a shortcut.
You teach me how to shake your hand
with my thumb and index hooked in a deliberate “C.”
A crescent moon you tore down
from its place over the Southside, Homewood.
Now, you wrap a towel around your waist.
Shower droplets shine out of reach between your shoulders,
anticipating a tongue, a fingertip, a pressed cheek.
Here, you teach me how to shoot the 9mm
in my dresser drawer.
It’s wrapped in your own bandana, blue as blood.
I say, your enemies are my enemies now.
You say, my enemies are dead, mostly.
I’ve never seen a gun so small. It’s terror
and thrill: what we carry/what we conceal.
You unwrap the Glock 9 so that your finger—
your fingerprints—never touch the trigger.
Bandana as erasure.
Bandana as reasonable doubt.
Bandana as a redaction of these lines.
Like this, you say and pull the blue cotton
up over your sleeve. To catch the powder.
I know its chalk-metal smell.
Smell like soil corrupted.
Smell like feet pounding pavement.
You put the gun in my hand.
It’s almost weightless, hollow, a dead bird.
I wrap it as tenderly as I would any other lifeless thing.