by William Doreski
In Scitico* no one knows me
anymore. The railroad intersects
the highway without my help.
The river slushes over a dam
at the former woolen mill
with a harshly critical roar.
A child pegs rocks at me. His face
warps with hatred so ugly
a Gorgon would envy his mask.
I tackle him and write on his shirt
with indelible marker: “This child
throws stones at people.” Let him
explain this to his cocaine
addled parents. I’d drop him
into the river from the black
girder-plate railroad bridge,
but the hundred-foot drop would break
the little beast in two. He runs
screaming into traffic, but escapes
without injury, tears as raw
as vinegar scorching his face.
No one stops to help the child
as he disappears behind houses
stark as tombs of Hebrew kings.
I stroll across the railroad bridge
to test my nerve. Oily water
lies motionless behind the dam.
I don’t know how deep it is,
but fifty years ago I watched
a boy dive from the bridge and survive.
Reaching the left bank I step
from the railroad into the weeds
and realize how old and alone
I must seem to that angry child,
who only wanted to prove
me human by making me bleed.
Copyright © 2012 by William Doreski.