I drove back
382 miles and
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,
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,
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?
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