If x = the # of times we watch
her drop in the elevator,
& the man left standing start swaying
from side to side before
grabbing hold of her limp body
& dragging it across
the threshold, then y = either
the way two games is multiplied
by infinity only after we see
the proof, the full burden of it,
even if enough probably existed
before, or else y = the way
we call for a changing
of the guard, the man who deemed
two enough needing to step down
from his perch. Is it that easy,
though? That’s not a rhetorical
question. It is that easy. When
I ask my students how they feel
about a man getting away
with this abuse, they stare at me
& don’t answer. I tell them
this— if x = you & y = anger,
or if x = your girlfriend & y =
a man, any man, & his hand
colliding with her face, what result
should we expect? Try this one:
if x = Ray Rice on the field
next season, a Cowboy or a Bronco
or some other animal, then y =
danger, = a world where
we’ve forgotten consequences,
where watching him run, his body
smaller than the others but not
small enough, turns us
to enablers. What do we do?
Do we keep enabling? Is it that easy,
keeping the games turned on?
Because who cares if a man
knocks his fiancee to an elevator floor
as long as he gives us a TD
& 105 yards in fantasy,
as long as the team that signs him
beats the team that thought about it.

About Justin Carter

Justin Carter is co-editor of Banango Street & a PhD student at the University of North Texas. His poems appear/will appear in The Collagist, Hobart, The Journal, Ninth Letter, & Sonora Review. He can be found online at justinrcarter.tumblr.com.

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