First Death


The sickened are bedded and dressed in silk: they will die.


Dear Lord!


One of the nuns scurries into the street with her neck in blood. She has no head. The other nuns shake in sweat and turn and twist and look like logs on the ground. I don’t think that it is morning yet, Henry says. Henry has his face in-between the legs of a thin pale woman who cannot breathe. She will breathe, the nurse says. I know, Henry says. The woman is not a nun.




It is the earliest time.

It is before dawn. The light on the street is still and black and white and some of the light is yellow. Hank undoes his captured and fingered hands. Now, he dresses himself. Now it is first light. Now the light on the street is yellow and orange and black. But the light is only black where there are still shadows.


Oh Joy!


It is time for school. The school boys and girls are on the corner and the school girls hold hands and skip and sing and play with a jump rope and the school boys play school boy games and point at the girls.

One fat school boy turns red.


The little school girls in the short skirts are on dope. The little school girls on dope sing. The little school girls tell the little school boys to go on dope. The little school boys have slingshots and knives and one of the little school boys has a gun.

But this aint no ghost town, Teacher Harris says.


Oh children, Principle Warren says, it is only a mourning. The men and women in black are not saints. They are sharing communion because some little boy was shot in the street.


Welcome to the first floor.


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