Halloween, 2008 / No. 21

“So there it is,” she said,

then ordered me to touch it.

“Don’t be a pussy,” she said

I reached out my hand to

the motionless body

lying face-down in the creek

that ran behind our school,

its head smashed open

like a partially deflated basketball.

I felt as if I was standing before

something old and important:

an abandoned hospital

the trees were the patients

sick and alone with each other.

My hand hovering

above, trembling

(a deep resonance,

the dying of a bass note)

before laying it to rest

almost a caress.

Colder than I ever thought

a body could be, wet

like a sponge

and young,

younger than us.

“I can not believe you just did that,” she said,

and ran away laughing.

Couldn’t stop smelling my

hand all the way home,

almost sweet, almost

like playing with a sore in your mouth, a

loose tooth.

The front door is locked,

knock and my mother looks curious

when she answers, blocking

me from entering. I

try to step by but

she stops me.

“Excuse me,” she says,

“do I know you? ”

Her face is a haunted house,

her eyes

the windows

with drawn curtains.