Mike Lewis-Beck: “Private Eye”

Private Eye

There’s been no rain.
People wait
before the Hall of Justice—
not waiting for justice, no reign.

First guess. A protest, Chavez country.
No, just a line, a snake dance
for driver’s licenses
or child support payments.

Seven am and the sky a burnt blue.
They wait, haggard now, a Bible
Banger saying God gave them Freedom
Of Choice and won’t take it back…

A young fella, farm shoulders—
no shirt—bums a light for his smoke,
throws the lady her matches back, doesn’t take the light.
The lady says, What that mother Okie crazy do that?
The Bible Banger walks, checks
his red cell, his grey meter, his beat-up
Chevelle wagon, California plates, blue on white.
I pencil out the number, since maybe it’s him.

Seven-thirty am. The hall doors open.


Mike Lewis-Beck writes and works in Iowa City. He has pieces in Alexandria Quarterly, Apalachee Review, Cortland Review, Chariton Review, Pilgrimage, Iowa Review, Rootstalk, Seminary Ridge Review, Taos Journal of International Poetry and Art, and Wapsipinicon Almanac, among other venues. His short story, “Delivery in Göteborg,” received a Finalist prize from Chariton Review, 2015. His essay, “My Cherry Orchard in Iowa,” received recognition as one of the “Notable Essays” in Best American Essays of 2011. His poetry book manuscript, Wry Encounters, was a Finalist for the 42 Miles Press Poetry Award 2016.

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