The Murderer - Page two

The story was

They had a fight

After dinner-- later, after dark--

About money,

She took a suitcase and her jewelry

And drove off

To go to her daughter’s house.

She’d done it before.

Hadn’t all of them (the men in the room),

Been threatened the same?

Weren’t they all middle-aged

With children gone?

The last part he left out--

They weren’t like him.

Their love was tepid water after a rain,

Puddles at the curb.

So they let him go

With shaking heads,

They were hoping for straight talk,

One man to another--

Or some remorse to point the way,

They had a bullet with no gun,

And no one saw a thing.

--And he was a wooden war-horse,

A tribute filled with murderous intent,

Unreadable.

 

I remember his face:

Thin, with cheeks too thick

That would sag in old age,

Full lips and good teeth,

And black brows and curly hair,

Black to match

Which he greased with the fashion of the time,

--Barely gray at sixty.

He never smiled,

Unless he was on the verge

Of making you the fool,

And he never laughed at all.

He could be friendly,

(And invite you along to hunt rabbits)

If he thought he could get your money,

Otherwise, he seldom spoke.

He was given to sunglasses,

Even inside on a dark day,

And liked to park his car

So he could watch it from the closest window.

He could be affectionate

With a pat or a poke,

But mostly didn’t want to be bothered.

He played catch with me once,

And once in a winter’s blizzard

Drove me to deliver newspapers,

All the while, asking me

If I really wanted to have the route.