Breakdown

she stood in the middle
of the sidewalk on State Street
face raised to the drenching rain
eyes wide
both hands clenched
into tight fists
as if holding
a two-pronged lightning rod
& praying
to be struck down by God

oblivious of her stringy hair
soaked t-shirt outlining small breasts
her frazzled screams
shook the air she ignored
the thinning crowd
caught in her own vision
of approaching horror

for ten minutes
this tableau held people
afraid to pause to stop to
make her real

then she closed her mouth
smiled into the sudden silence
& walked away until she was lost
behind the gray wet curtain


James Roberts

James P. Roberts is the author of six previous collections of poetry, including One Hundred Breaths, which was published by Portage Press in 2020. He lives in Madison, Wisconsin where he is a regional Vice-President for the Wisconsin Fellowship of Poets and is active in many literary endeavors. Recently, he has resumed his alter persona as “The Captain” and begun performing at area musical Open Mics, playing guitar, mandolin and charango.

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