There’s a river that runs behind the house
where most go to murder,
hands around the throat, head held down.
A day doesn’t go by when a body
isn’t being dragged to the water’s edge.
There’s not much resistance as I stare
at the back of the empty skull; I never
look at the face—all complete strangers.
One could be my family but I’ll never know.
I rummage through the pockets
before the current takes them away
and then go back inside for dinner.
Some are of color, some pale.
I never give a thought to ghosts
or what their life was like.
It’s a fair assumption I wouldn’t
have liked them. At some point
they probably would have shot me
or my kin, or stolen from me. So much
of what I have is less than what
my father and grandfather had.
Charles G Lauder Jr was born and raised in San Antonio, Texas, and has lived in the UK since 2000. His poems have appeared internationally, and he was highly commended in the 2015 Stanza Poetry Competition. His pamphlet Bleeds was published in 2012 by Crystal Clear Creators. His forthcoming pamphlet Camouflaged Beasts will be published in spring 2017 by Black Light Engine Room. He is the Assistant Editor for the poetry journal The Interpreter’s House.