“Tore Up” by Dale Wisely

Amanda’s gone for good.  She drove away from a fight with Billy and arrived DOA at County.

This is not the city, so Billy is not grieving, he’s tore up.

Tore up will get respect that grieving won’t get.  If Billy doesn’t show up for his shift at the plant because he’s grieving, the foreman will blink twice and send word for Billy to get off his ass and get to work.   But, when Billy gets arrested for getting drunk and taking a swing at the deputy, everybody will be able to live with it, including the deputy, because Billy’s tore up and he will be for a long time.

His friends will be together some night standing around a fire, listening to their dogs howl and chase foxes through the woods.  Someone will tell the story of Billy’s arrest, and everyone will remember Amanda in her casket at Frank Ballard’s funeral home.  Men will nod and shift their gaze from the fire to the dark woods and back again. They will be waiting for the dogs to come crashing out of the brush, in a frenzy stirred by the woods and by the hunt. The running hounds nearly airborne with joy.


Dale Wisely lives and works in Birmingham as a psychologist and school system administrator. He edits Right Hand Pointing and, with Howie Good, reads and publishes digital chapbooks of prose poems for White Knuckle Press.

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