Blood striped the yellow leaves with plea.
We crashed through the prickly woods to see.
The hunters fled - we saw our chance.
The doe went down in a red leaf dance.
No motion in the mound.
No struggle to defy.
My brother's rifle found
her quiet eye.
Forest sister, your swoon of death
transports to human breath.
No thicket hiding can lose you to the coal:
I carry your redness in my soul.
(Of the murder, by stabbing, of a
family in Chino, California, 1983.)
The whole wall,
plaid with blood.
The whole wall
taken for evidence.
In court, it must melt hearts.
A little boy's left whistling
in his throat, stabbed there.
All his family and a friend
who slept over, gone.
He will retreat to a different dying,
mute in his suffering. Hear no evil,
see no evil. No good foster parent
will put this humpty-dumpty
This is what we imagine.
But witches, too, come back
from the oven alive.
Perhaps we will grow him to fight
in an army – a special force –
to teach a way of dying to boys
who never once have seen
the brilliance of red geysers.