Pamela Murray Winters

Detective Lennie Briscoe: This is His Story

Volume 16:1, Winter 2015
Sonnet Issue

Detective Lennie Briscoe: This is His Story

“All this milk of human kindness is going to make me puke.”
—Detective Lennie Briscoe (Jerry Orbach), Law & Order, “Panic” (2000)

He meets each shattered body with a quip,
but not because it makes him laugh. Protective
witticisms get him through the day,
since liquor can’t. His fingers press each stain,
each rictus grin, into the metal chip
his pocket keeps. So many wrecks ahead:
the night he’ll slip and ride a wave of Scotch
into Claire’s car before some other drunk
will wipe her from the script with ruthless skill.
His younger daughter, Cathy, clean and killed,
obscenely sprawled amid the alley trash.
But he’ll die offscreen, longing for his date—
Elizabeth, the russet-haired M.E.—
to touch him, living, with her ungloved hand.


Pamela Murray Winters lives and works in Maryland. Her first full-length poetry collection, The Unbeckonable Bird, was published in June 2018 by FutureCycle Press.