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Friday, July 22, 2011
Dillinger, Alias Jimmy Lawrence
June 22, 1903 - July 22, 1934
He walked out into a night
delirious with moonshine,
the woman’s perfume suddenly lifting
from his arms – all sure signs of death.
What seemed like a good idea
rewound his brief life’s history.
This time he had no wooden gun for escape,
no forceps to flip his tongue,
to bring him back from the dead
like a gangster Lazarus.
Only Anna Sage knew who he was. He told her
his Depression-day Robin Hood stories,
but she preferred Indiana to Rumania.
Not until the moment he left the Biograph theatre,
right after Melvin Pelvis lit a cigar,
called out his real name,
did a kind of alley loneliness
rise like a red skirt of darkness
then exit his right eye for good.
“Dillinger...” was originally published in The Illinois Review.