382 miles away


I drove back

382 miles and

39 years

To what’s no longer a home.

Searching for something.


I killed him years ago,

But we have unfinished business.

The shovel is so cold to the touch,

Sad to think that that such a thing

Puts one in the ground


Can dig one back up again.


He lay their 39 years, just outside my bedroom window

When I was a child, and I killed him.

It is dark now, rural dark, not like you NYC folks,

So dark that only the demon eyes of my childhood stare back at me.


I trace my steps, though much bigger and slower now, but no less scared, maybe more,

to 10 ½ feet just outside the willow tree.

She’s still standing, towering over it, like his anger

That drove him in it.


I hesitate; I look around at what was my identity

That no longer belongs to me, and I think that if I get …


Let me just dig a little first; I will fit nicely …

I dig in slow motion unconcerned about waking those sleeping

Unconcerned about waking him.


It is too dark to see, but I feel myself sinking

Sinking deeper into the clay-laden earth of Western New York.

I think, though numb, will some skin still be there?

Will the head I so often touched be unrecognizable to me?

Will there be his coat of tan and black and grey?


I panic, as the soil moans and the shovel screams less discrete

She’s warm to the touch now and is caressing something,

Maybe bones.


There is a flash and a bang from up above.

I recognize it, in slow motion, as my father’s window, right next to mine

Followed by the bathroom.


I felt a pulsating shock roar through my chest and something warm

Ooze all over me; then I heard another

Blowing my leg out from under me, and another

Killing the shovel this time.


I dropped into his grave.


The score is even now.

I was guilty when six, maybe seven,

When I rode over his paw with my Tonka truck.

He wanted to kill me but didn’t.


A week later my dad killed him with three shots

Just out of the window over there.

He attacked my dad,

you see,

because I made him angry when I rolled my truck

Over his paw.


I am 382 miles from home now.

Can you take me back to my daughter and son?

Listen to the podcast here.

Author: dropoutprofessor

A professor of English and Social Sciences that enjoys writing. Hope you enjoy my posts. All published work on this blog is my own. Pictures are used under license from Depositphotos.com or Shutterstock.com, unless otherwise noted.

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