Green Hills Literary Lantern

(Near) Death in the Afternoon on Becker Street


Even critically wounded

He knows enough to lie:


The car isn’t his

He does not know the shooters

or why they shoot

Gives two false names

Neither matches the name on his ID’s


At first he seemed more surprised than pained


says, “It hurts, it really hurts!”


The woman with no front teeth

a six o’clock shadow at noon

filthy house dress reeking of smoke and beer

first on the scene looks straight into his eyes


says, “It would, you know.

You’ve been shot who knows how many times.”


He wonders, afraid to ask, “Am I dead?
Is that what happened?”


She says, “Yes, it is.”




Alan Catlin is gainfully unemployed after retiring from his unchosen profession as a barman. He is currently writing a novel reflecting on some of his working experiences, to be called Chaos Management. His most recent book of poetry is Playing Tennis with Antonioni from March Street Press.