Kojak in the Suburbs

By Brian Simoneau


Because I accept human fallibility
            a man explains, voice like Telly Savalas
behind me. Voice of bald, of wide collar splayed, chain

            slung across unbuttoned chest. Voice of
swarth. Words sharp as back alley glass but smooth
            as a mobster about to knock you off. Imagine

Kojak scolding his table of retired buddies
            for scolding the woman behind the register
who mixed up their muffins and scones. Imagine

            the gentle crap he gives, network-ready curses
his ever-ready shtick, good-natured ribbing
            scripted, friendship as late-night rerun. Picture

him, stubborn cop plucked from ’78 and dropped
            into this bakery-café chain to talk
and talk about life insurance, nursing homes, how

            every damn day of the week ends in –y, every one
different in ways that confound. Picture crooked
            knuckles, recycled cardboard cup. Picture collage

and landscape hanging on beige walls anywhere
            franchise fees allow. Picture grainy pictures
of perps, plots twisting but always the outcome

            the same, catchphrase making its timely
appearance again. Imagine the laugh he laughs
            here, the wilting hum of a set switched off.


Brian Simoneau is the author of River Bound (C&R Press, 2014). His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Boston Review, The Cincinnati Review, The Georgia Review, Mid-American Review, RHINO, and other journals. He lives in Connecticut with his family.