Glenn G. Coats
Prospect, Virginia, USA
The woods are loud with crickets. I climb up and down the boulders that lie like beached whales. I poke beside the path with my walking stick and try to find a horseshoe or one of the green bottles Mama keeps on a shelf. That's when I see them. Four boys painting a bicycle with cans of spray. Their hands buzz like insects and I can smell the paint in the air. The boys are busy with their work and they don't notice me.
dry leaves in the folds
of a blanket
Later, Mama asks, "Have you seen your bicycle? Did you leave it in Mickey's backyard?" That's when it dawns on me; the bicycle in the forest was mine.
The police know the boys and say they are always getting in trouble. Nothing they can do about the bike. Mama didn't keep a record of the serial number and the policemen say it is our word against theirs. No proof.
One of the boys rides my bike slowly past our house. Stares back at Daddy when he tells him to move on. "Why does he do that?" I ask my mother.
"He's got nothing to lose," my mother says.
I sand a lifetime
from the chair