Every Time By M Chapman Orozco

Every Time

We watched from behind the rusty screen door,
from the room with the teal sofas we didn’t sit on,
the police officer entering our lives with a slam
of his car door, ticking toward us up the driveway.

I stood in the peach stucco home my mother
grew up in. I’d called the police on her husband
for hitting me that time. He told me sharply wait
here and met the officer on the porch. I heard

him say you know how they are
and they spoke of fatherhood then military service,
their murmurs loosened.
The officer said let me talk to her

and his shape shadowed into the room. He said sit.
I sat on the floor. He said this man was a good man
to step in as my father. Obey him. Twenty years

after my mother would dispose of two teal like-new
sofas. I cry every time I get pulled over.

By M Chapman Orozco


M Chapman Orozco is drawn to concepts of trauma, memory, family, and chance. She feeds the beast that is her interest in probability by making it her day job as a technical writer for nonprofit organizations working to disrupt probability.

M recognizes that in all probability, her own upbringing and trauma should have produced different results. M volunteers teaching poetry at an after-school program for low-income students in her community. M holds an undergraduate degree from UCLA (Religious Studies, English minor), and an MBA from Whitworth University.

She lives in Spokane, Washington with her philosopher partner, family, and dog.

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