Dr. Richard Kimball Back Home in Indiana

After doing improv for so long,
it was boring going straight again,
looking over some kid’s adenoids,
or golfing with the jurymen who
sent me to the chair. I loved grifting
the hicks. Just by fixing a new name
to my work shirt and a grin to my face
I could drift into some town’s troubles
like a raptor riding on a high thermal.

They revealed everything to me:
family grievances, adultery, theft,
believing I would share their excuses
because I, too, was running from the law.
It was always tempting to mock confess
my own crime, “I croaked my old lady,”
just to see their hypocritical faces flinch
like a frog’s leg jolted with electricity.
I had been judged and so I judged them.

The fugitive status that John Q. Public
imposed on me was permission enough
to slip away, escaping those tired stories.
My only regret is that I shook the hand
of Gerard, my pursuer, who let his badge
stand in for a conscience. Had I kicked
him in the balls and gone back on the lam,
I’d might be feeding lies tonight to some
lonely housewife who had baked me a pie.

Chris Bullard can be followed on Twitter @ChrisBu20496680.

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