Violent Child

The first victim I must apologize to,

before death, is Ginger.  When I was five

I pulled a knife from my belt and waved the blade

next to her blue eyes.  "I'm going to kill

you," I said.  Her face, so innocent the

smile collapsed into despair, was pretty

and I was in love with Ginger.  Her lips,

which I had kissed twice, parted to speak, but

she cried, wailing and running up the hill

to her house.  Her blonde hair, in ringlets I

swear, bounced.  And I stood confused.  Why had she

left?  I felt dirty.  The boy who waved his

knife in my eyes had not mentioned hurting

her inside.  I hadn't cried, even when

he cut a line of blood on my arm.  Her

face haunted me for months.  I was sent to

the priest, a troubled boy so young, and her

parents forbade me to see her.  I was

low class.  


I think you loved me too.  Ten years

later, you still stared at me with hurt as

you stood on your porch.  Neighbors, we hardly

talked after my violence.  We might

have married, you were so beautiful.  We

might have raised blonde children:  A fireplace, pots

of copper in the kitchen.  Now I leave

cities, a list of rented apartments, and

girlfriends.  I apologize.  I am

punished every day for my basic hate,

which was not for you.  I had kissed you, thought

you were the child I could show hate to.  Five,

we lost belief in toys on that hill.  You

grew fat and dour, and I do not love.

David Flynn was born in the textile mill company town of Bemis, TN.  His jobs have included newspaper reporter, magazine editor and university teacher.  He has five degrees and is both a Fulbright Senior Scholar and a Fulbright Senior Specialist with a recent grant in Indonesia.  His literary publications total more than 220.  He lives in Nashville, TN.