Monday, February 6, 2023

Eric D. Goodman


Sorting through relics in the attic,
I come across the dusty box,
wonder why I kept the evidence all these years.
I smile at the frightened adolescent I was.

I knew they were coming for me,
that it was only a matter of time
before an agent would reveal himself
from behind a tree, around a corner.

A man in a skinny tie on a park bench,
a woman in a dark pantsuit on the city bus,
even a sidewalk jogger with Walkman and headphones—
all potential apprehenders.

They knew what I’d done,
knew I’d been warned that my crime wasn’t victimless.
No amount of feigning innocence
would lessen my prison sentence.

I have to laugh now, looking back,
as I open the box and peruse,
wonder where I can find an old VCR
for a glimpse of those jittery FBI warnings.

Eric/s YouTube video reading of "Victimless":

Subscribe and turn on Notifications for Channel 52.

Eric confesses: "True to the action in the poem, I really did come across an old box of VHS tapes. My kids, living in a streaming world, were a little surprised by the jittery FBI warnings at the beginning of the tapes--especially since some of them were dubbed copies. I imagined a young person losing sleep over a pirated movie, paranoid that the FBI was tracking him down, anticipating an arrest. There may be no such thing as a victimless crime, but there certainly are degrees of severity."

ERIC D. GOODMAN is author of The Color of Jadeite (Loyola University’s Apprentice House Press, 2020), Setting the Family Free (Apprentice House Press, 2019), Womb: a novel in utero (Merge Publishing, 2017), Tracks: A Novel in Stories (Atticus, 2011), and Flightless Goose (Writer's Lair, 2008) as well as the forthcoming Wrecks and Ruins.

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