I am thinking of that boy who bragged about the day he threw
a dog over and watched it struggle to stay upright all
the way down.
I am thinking of that rotting carcass on the rocks,
and the child with such power he could call to a helpless
thing as if he were its friend, capture it, and think of
the cruelest punishment.
It must have answered some need, some silent screaming in a
closet, a motherless call when night came crashing;
it must have satisfied, for he seemed joyful, proud, as if he
had once made a great creation out of murder.
That body on the rocks, its sharp angles, slowly took the shape of
what was underneath, bones pounded, until it lay on the bottom
like a scraggly rug.
Nothing remains but memory—and the suffering of those who
would walk into the soft hands of a killer for a crumb of bread.
From Captivity, by Toi Derricotte, ©1989. Used by permission of the University of Pittsburgh Press.