Sugar, in Water

Carl Harris

for Vincent
In Men In Black (1997), Vincent D’Onofrio, his name
still yet unknown to me, first pulled back that slack
skin around his skull and appeared for all the world
to be a pair of dentures wearing human flesh,

in water”

(and then there’s that great scene, where
the little gun makes a huge bang; inspired
to quote Will Smith for my parents, I loved
to test the waters of my potty mouth:

“I’m gonna break this
damn thing”)

and when my parents dropped me off with
the son of a cop, he showed me his cut of
Full Metal Jacket (1987), fast forwarding to
all the bits with shooting, R. Lee Ermey
cursing, Vincent D’Onofrio (in 1987) growling

“I live in a world
of shit”

and today, my landlord’s left gaps in his
cabinetry from which cockroaches emerge.
With each one I kill beneath the Swiffer,
beneath the shoe, down the garbage disposal,
I ask,

“Was that your auntie,
Vincent D’Onofrio?”