I don’t know why I thought of this poem. It’s not one of my best ones. The event happened 79 years ago, when I was a little boy living in Ajo, Arizona. I don’t usually write about such matters, but my editor for CONNECTING DOTS, WENDY MURRAY, wanted me to write about things close to the bone, incidents that meant something to me. This was one of them.
I’m 7. Darting among the large pillars that support the roof, my friend Rosemary and I make it down the long, covered walkway in front of the town's single block of stores. The bar sits at the far end. LATE AT NIGHT Rumors pull kids down the walk, to the place we’re not supposed to go, to the bar where they say a man got killed last night, to see a stain they say is there, by the door where two guys fought. We go to see, but not too close. The air smells damp, dangerous. The stain is dark like blood, but could be dirt. I wonder why some men think they have to fight, fall on a sidewalk late at night. Dirt or blood, I've seen enough. I want to go. (c) 2003 David L. Harrison, all rights reserved