The Red Robin (for S.H., 1984-2005)
I buy stamps that say, "Stop Family Violence."
I go to the mountains for peace and quiet.
Andrew sits on the sand by the calm lake,
his dark face darkened even more by his
brother's fist last night, fighting over his wife.
He sits by the fire with his two young daughters
listening to stories of war and Robin's bloodied
breast and Meadowlark's bullet-ridden chest and
how Eagle carried them to the lake to save them.
Back in the city, she brings her children to our barbecue.
They smile politely; the children make new friends.
The peace gets all torn in the morning--men
yelling, a woman and child shouting, a loud crack,
the blue sky rips open and another son is
taken away from his brother, his brother, his father.
Robin lies in the red lake. A woman cries
and tells a story of love and death. The father,
he is staring into the fire with his face of flames.
The old woman tells the children that they must
write the stories now. In the cool dark evening,
they appear on my front porch, the children,
the new friends, the ones who played dead in
the street last week. We write a story together,
in the ghetto, about where the robins and
meadowlarks and sons have all gone.
They help me lick the stamps and we go
to the post office and mail a hundred thousand
stories to the world.