His hair, orange, red.
His specialty, regret.
His specialty, self-flagellation.
His specialty, not yours
to consider. What he
refuses to say, “never,
I say never, nor, again.”
The incident, the reveal,
the revelation of what is.
The decay, the falling,
the fall, the inevitable.
His hair, the down on
the lobe of his ear.
The fecund ground,
mud, black leaves,
married to the water.
The dreaming leaves,
of tomorrow, of things
I need not tell you.
His hair, his longing,
to keep the secret.
His secret, your secret,
our secret. There are no
secrets. There should be
no secrets. There are
no secrets. There are
no reasons. What reason do you need to die?
He can give no reason,
‘cause there are no reasons
no more reasons.
They put a knife
to his throat, he
should have been home.
He should have been told.
Of the cold, of the cold
bones in the ground.
His bony arm, raised
in defense, flailing.
The birds have all gone
away. His brother watched
from afar. Helpless, frozen,
snow on the ground.
Crusted. Crunching. Boots.
Trapped, running.
Shouts. Cries. Crying.
Don’t try to make sense of it.
The act repeats itself
again and again in
the woods are not safe.
The genuflecting trees.
They are taping the woods off:
“Crime Scene.”
We prefer not to think
about it. About the time.
The snow on the ground.
The trees, the stones, the mud.
His body, his blood, his tears.
His specialty, containment
All part of the plan.
His body, his blood, his years.
His remembering, his refusal
to speak, to say.
Our specialty,
avoiding it.

After “Autumn,” by Laura Mullen.

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