The minister’s wife, it was whispered,
was near death, and those children farmed out
to close friends. The marks on her throat
made them shudder to think of the wire
pulling taut, Patty gasping for air,
and poor Walter mere minutes from home.

Pat, are you there? Pick up. I’ll be home
in an hour, Walter said. Then he whispered,
I’m sorry, and rolled down the window for air.
He pulled into the driveway, got out,
shook his head, shook his keys, touched the wire
in his pocket, cleared the lump in his throat.

She screamed, surely she screamed as her throat
was crushed behind locked doors, safely at home.
Walter fell on the steps. Cut his hand,
he said. Bruised his face, he said. Whispered
his thanks that the children were out.
He was shaking and gasping for air.

Then a medic yelled, Bring me an air
tank! and pushed a tube down Pat’s throat.
She’s alive! he yelled. Walter passed out.
Check his pockets for keys so the home
can be locked. Where am I? he whispered.
Why is that policeman so close at hand?

Protection. Now give me your hand,
said the nurse, and she scrubbed and the air
filled with screams. She bent down and whispered,
If you think this is bad, your wife’s throat
was collapsed. She will never go home.
In a coma. She’ll never get out.

In a courtroom a medic spelled out
how the wire ended up in his hand.
Searching for keys to lock up the home,
‘cause we’d done all we could with the air,
in his pocket was blood from her throat
and the wire. I’m fucked, Walter whispered.

Close to passed out, Walter gasped for air
as contraband wire encircled his throat.
Your ass is my home, the man whispered.