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Keith Montesano 


The Author as Man Who, from the Opposite Corner of the Street,

   Sees Sandra Get Shot through the Neck in Blitz

                              After the film by Elliott Lester


That week the rain wouldn't stop, pooled & flooded
          the sewers, & even with the windows closed, the barrage
was like blood pulsing through the heart, never ceasing. 
          I was walking the opposite way, saw him closing on her 
in all black, an oversized hood shrouding his face, before
          she stopped & one shot went through her neck. I ducked
behind a van, could barely see as the rain came down harder, 
          before the blood flowed, black amidst the shadows 
as she gasped & choked for air. I knew she was gone, 
          but called & blurted out words: Hurt. Hurry. Now. Can't. 
I don't know if mine was the last face she saw, or she knew
          if my eyes looked directly into hers. They said they'd come. 
I snapped my phone in two, threw it down a sewer, 
          & always imagine I could've done something more.


The Author as Neighbor Who Sees Courtney Shoot Herself in the Head
   from His Living Room Window Across the Street in Bellflower

                              After the film by Evan Glodell


My youth? I hear it mostly in the revved engines & tires
          squealing, shattered beer bottles & cursing, & somehow
admire it, live through them now, the only neighbor, 
          I imagine, who hasn't called the cops. & to see it then
& ask what happened, as if there's some explanation 
          that would make me sleep without seeing her scream 
his name before the quickness of the barrel to her head
          & the shot & slowing of time as her body collapses 
in the street & he keeps walking. Then was my time to call,
          but I couldn't get away from the window, where
anyone could see me if they looked. But no one did. 
          I turned the lights off, hid in my bedroom for days, 
ignored their knocks. I couldn't relive it. I couldn't say 
          what I saw tells us the world won't wait much longer.


The Author as Man Who Finally Believes After He Sees Half
   of the Biker's Body Dragged Back by the Rope in The Mist

                             After the film by Frank Darabont


Still in the background, I watched & waited & spoke 
          a prayer I kept silent, one that-after the shroud of mist
suffocated the air & formed into white nests of blindness-
          served no purpose, as we watched his legs get dragged 
& the rope slick with his blood. I knew then, an hour
          after you sent me to get tomato sauce & two bottles 
of cheap Malbec, that I probably wouldn't come back. 
          But even more than that, I wondered if I was luckier 
than you, & if the mist came through the small cracks 
          in our windows, those I never called the landlord about
after your constant reminders. No one's cell phone works
          now. No one has faith we'll survive. The first sign
of darkness is almost here, & we have nothing left to do
          but wait, think of a plan, & ask if we'll ever see morning.


-from Scoring the Silent Film

BIO: Keith Montesano is the author of the poetry collections Ghost Lights (Dream Horse Press, 2010), and Scoring the Silent Film (Dream Horse Press, 2013). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Hayden’s Ferry Review, Third Coast, Mid-American Review, Ninth Letter, Verse Daily, and elsewhere. He recently earned his PhD in English and creative writing from Binghamton University, and currently lives in New York with his wife.

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