The Black Ops of Pop
Kathleen Hellen
  — might be hallucination.
  Unsubstantiated imagination.
  Spotlight on a kitchen chair.
  My brother in his underwear
  choking as the pill went down—
  so much water he might drown.
  I saw Marky’s nose pinched shut
  through the eyes of childhood but
  was it real? Did it happen?
  Was it me, grasping
  for attention? Sister
  said so. So did mother.
  No one saw my brother’s
  mouth pried open, but me.
  Black sheep. The one who writes:
  Swallow this, about the terror
  that I witnessed. The memory
  that shines so vividly. I call it death by light.
Kathleen Hellen’s poems have appeared in Barrow Street, The Massachusetts Review, North American Review, Poetry East, Poetry International, and elsewhere. She is the author of the award-winning collection Umberto’s Night and two chapbooks, The Girl Who Loved Mothra and Pentimento. Nominated for the Pushcart and Best of the Net, and featured on Poetry Daily, her poems have been awarded the Thomas Merton poetry prize and prizes from the H.O.W. Journal and Washington Square Review.