Child

When he was a child
death lived like a parrot
on a pirate’s shoulder
on his shoulder

he saw a mongrel
hit by a car
watched it shudder
teeth bared in
death’s lip back grin
until its eyes fixed
somewhere else
and life drained away

he saw a classmate
giggle next to him
at the cowboy double bill
Hopalong Cassidy and
Randolph Scott
hanged himself that night
stopped like a swatted fly
jiggling in pointless cirlces
at his unexplained empty desk

he giggled nervously
at another funeral
his best friend mysteriously
after vanishing for months
sucked dry by ukulele

then Gary Cooper
gunned down
in the Spanish mountains
Ingrid Bergman screaming
torn away
he understood
the machine gun
suddenly silent in the pass
the tolling bells
Since then
death in films was
too soft so easy
a bullet a pained look
a crumple to the floor
eyes staring
then closing gracefully

that was a lie he knew
you can’t close your eyes
when the life goes out

when he was a child
the dead guys stared
at what they saw there
but too late

death was death.

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About riverwriter

Poet, playwright, duplicate bridge player, website designer, cottager, husband, father, grandfather, former athlete, carpenter, computer helper for my friends, theatre designer, backstage polymath, retired teacher of highschool English, drama, art, a baritone singer in a barbershop quartet, who knows what else? wordcurrents is on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wordcurrents/ Doug also has a Facebook page, "Incognitio", related to his novels.
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