by Sharanya Manivannan

Mob Moll, 1938| Taken from the NY Daily News, the image is a part of their Mob Molls of New York series

Consider me retired.
I’m turning myself in,
negotiating the terms
of settlement.

I want to be disarmed.
My heart, old notoriety,
has seen enough arson.
Enough glass on the floor
over my honour and my name.

I’ll forfeit my artillery,
capitulate my army of one,
polish someone else’s gun.

I’ll keep just one gambit cocked.
One weapon of choice — this
devil’s advocate, god-given voice.

It’s true there is a bounty on my head,
but I’m worth the brawl.

Call it my last and most legendary
A speakeasy romance.
Jailbreak. Jackpot.

Come on, sharpshooter.
Lay down the law.
Bring me to justice, baby.
Take a gamble on a gal who’s
virtuous and vice-free.
Show me off like a round of gunfire.
Cherish me like contraband.

After all this dacoitry and anarchy,
blackmail and delinquence,
it’s a fair trade, mea culpa
after all.

I have no accomplices. But
allow me to name my acquittal:

a man’s forearm around
my throat in photographs — holding me
like a collar of fur or purloined pearls,
compelling me like a knife.

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