(Nov.8,1948 / Westbrook, Maine)

Stick Elegy

The dead were still singing Turn the lights down low
Beneath Yellow Bridge where years before, clowning
And ass out, Stick jumped with nothing but the State
Championship trophy in his righteous clutch. The water
Was supposed to be deepest there, and for three seasons
Straight MVPs: Charlie 'Fly' Kennison, Long Timmy Long,
And Rocket Jefferson, those are the names I knew, jumped

Free. But Stick's ankle broke. I fished him out, crumpled
And bawling like the day he was born, like an object of
Baptism, and a life of bad luck followed in the shape of
Floods and fractured lightning, and then, numb, tooth-
Less, and changed, the dead refused burial, striking out, 2
By 2, 4 by 4, from the morgue house to raise trouble at
The bridge. I started hearing birds everywhere after that.

by Terrance Hayes

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