This chapter is another of Slater’s poems in which she examines Richard’s life. The poem is one solid verse of several lines, and many of the lines have peculiar spacing. Some lines are flush with the margin, while others are scattered across the page. The poem appears to trail down the page, and the lines “Who / Can / You / Trust?” stand out in the middle of the poem.
The peculiar spacing and structure of Slater’s poem draws attention to the fact that Richard has very few people he can trust, as his support network is sparse. Society is structured in such a way that many people appear out to get him. The boy who robs him could be considered a casual friend, yet he holds Richard at gunpoint.
“Who in this world can you trust?” Slater writes. “When the guns are drawn, / when the sun goes down, / when you’re walking in the shadows.” She continues, “People call themselves your friend. / They say they were there / but they weren’t there. / Say they’re coming / but they don’s show.” Slater ends her poem with the following two lines: “’I don’t have any friends,’ Richard once said. / ‘I have associates.’”
Slater’s poem also points out the plain disparities between Sasha’s middle-class life and Richard’s lower-class existence. Sasha has the luxury of many close and meaningful friendships, while Richard doesn’t. Richard expects to be betrayed rather than supported.