The man upstairs
is beating his wife.
I can hear the horror through the walls,
and I blame the cheap apartment complex
in which I reside.
I consider calling the cops, but then
it ends, and I hear the woman
moaning, the rhythmic movement
of a bed thumping against a wall,
and my ceiling fan vibrating.
I try to eat my sandwich –
thin sliced turkey and mayo -
and settle my eyes on a hockey game
between Boston and Detroit.
I fall asleep with the TV on.
My half eaten sandwich
sits on the coffee table
next to three beer bottles
and half a pack of cigarettes.
I sleep through the renewed horror –
the screaming, and the eventual gunshots.
Two of them:
One for her,
and one for him.
I wake to a heavy knock at my door.
A policeman standing, shaking his head,
as he goes over the grim details, asks
if I heard anything.
I tell him no.
I turn around, and listen to his feet
climbing the stairs until he’s gone.
I sit down, spark a cigarette
and to take my mind off the guilt I harbour,
for not picking up the phone
and calling the police,
I watch the sports highlights.