I shot the sheriff was the admission
Bob Marley wailed into the stage mic
and thus to the thousands of followers
cheering on the grass before him,
none of whom, of course, were expected
to come up with a judicial analysis
of the felony (or felonies) in question,
given the paucity of clear evidence –
not to mention the alluring beat
and rapturous guitar riffs electrifying
the summer air – whereas in my case,
as I go around the apartment popping
the balloons leftover from the birthday
party – my daughter’s, who just turned
five and tuned in on her mother’s
phone and doesn’t know why part
of her life is a video stream – as I gather
streamers and droopy garlands and,
like I said, stick a kitchen knife
into the balloons bobbing on the floor
like so many stoned rock fans who
can’t see straight and won’t go home
long after the star has left, it occurs
to me, with this choppy swing of reggae
and murderous strife in the space
where only moments earlier I’d seen
laughter and surprise writ large
on the luminous cells of her eyes –
yes, it hits me that although the issue
of the deputy’s demise is still up
in the air after all these years,
it doesn’t matter one iota, because
the facts bear out what we know:
namely that the man has disappeared,
along with his boss, which must mean
the convicted outlaw, minus the bottom
of his bucket, and all those seeds
that Sheriff Brown told him to kill
before they grew – this felon,
this self-avowed killer, with too many
photos on the walls and lots of blank
space in between, will forever
be going over the case in the terrible
annals of his conscience.