Tara Shea Burke

Six Years

where did the night go
our days so full so long
our bed now a place to nod off early with the dogs

you are my center always my pillar     my sturdy cement foundation
what difference does it make what we do

I decide to keep loving you even when you decide to be a cop
in the year of bad cops and dead people who shouldn’t be dead
I say what better woman     lesbian      liberal     well-read person in uniform
than you so I keep loving you even though I know you’ll finger the trigger
and everything I’ve ever read to you about privilege
in that second won’t matter
it will be you or them

maybe no one will ever die by your hands
the same hands I crave as our eyelids win the night

what causes pain
the nonexistent scenarios we dream up
the nonexistent future consoling your guilt for the body that dropped
the nonexistent nights spent cleaning up your shit after surviving a shot

what brings lust back
the cuffs dangling from your belt
the excitement of riding along hearing you repeat codes 10-4     27-8     10-99
watching you be hard secretly wishing you were harder

will you cuff me in bed
play good cop bad cop

it’s true if you quit I’ll support you on the safer road     on any road
it’s true I crave more for the tough road  
it’s true I wait for tragedy
it’s true I crave the same desk everyday
and you crave more danger     a law you can trust

Tara Shea Burke is from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia and lives with her partner in rural New Mexico. She served as poetry editor for The Quotable and Barely South Review, and is a guest editor and board member for Sinister Wisdom, a Multicultural Lesbian Literature and Arts Journal. Her chapbook Let the Body Beg was published by ELJ Publications, and recent poems can be found in The Fourth River, Adrienne (Sibling Rivalry Press), Yellow Chair Review, Calyx, Tinderbox Poetry Journal, Minola Review, Public Pool, and more. She teaches in Santa Fe. Find more with links at: