The Brillantina Project

Murdered at The Pulse

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For Eddie Justice

Eddie liked the look that night,
checked shirt, sharp
new line angled through the hair, and a grin
like the one my brother gave the mirror
the day he grew past six feet. Bodies
rushing headstrong
into reverb and percussion. Into
strobing light. Who can know why
it will erupt—the rant,
the pop, pop, pop, not
backbeat. Not rim shots.
When the willow switch slashed the back
of my brother’s leg, his mouth
shaped an astonished O,
his pleading lost itself halfway
out of his throat,
and he couldn’t call out to me
where I cowered. Texting,
I love you, Mommy,
out of the shrieking dark,
crouched with a cell phone
spelling it out, the terror’s in here
with us, then turning a face
to the damp, black floor.
From this useless
distance, I look to that place
where someone suffers and someone
can’t be reached. One boy
sprawls sobbing
red streaks laddering his arms. And one—
may god forgive us all—lies turtled,
a message suspended between towers
when the bullets hits.


Gail C. DiMaggio

Gail C. DiMaggio watched her husband play jazz in a world where no artist ever gives up a day gig. She has refused to become discouraged. Her work has appeared most recently in Slipstream, Salamander, Blue Lyra Review, Adanna’s Woman and Art Anthology, Antiphon, and Allegro.

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