Neighbor Blood

Park Ridgeway’s wife, this hot August afternoon,
comes shrieking across the street with one hand
over her left eye, beats on the front door,
and Skipper the Jack Russell terrier
goes hysterical, yapping and yodeling
and springing at the curtains and tearing them.
Just fine, just fine, my old man keeps saying,
and she’s there in the kitchen with a wet washcloth
over the swollen eye and crying and bending over
and then it really starts. I’m a little kid,
so I’m no help. What do I know? My mother
is running cold water on another washcloth
and folding it into a smaller square and trading
washcloths, and then you can hear these big feet
on the porch, and hollering, and I run into the front
hallway behind my father, and Ridgeway smashes
his fist through our leaded glass window
beside the front door and reaches around inside
and yells you bastards. So my father takes Ridgeway’s
wrist in both hands and just cranks his arm
in a circle, then pushes it right down
onto the edge of the broken window glass,
and that’s basically the end of this story
because I went upstairs and got in my closet.
They’re all dead anyway, and it’s a long time
since that neighbor blood was wiped up
and dried up and it went back into basic atoms
and molecules and, who knows, maybe it’s part
of my blood now, or yours, or pan of anybody’s.