the red machete

the red machete

they found her body across the street,
in ‘the boonies,’
the very place my family and i went on the weekends
for fun, fun, fun.
(there isn’t a lot to do on guam)

“let’s go on a stomp!”
my dad’d yell brightly,
making a fake reveille
with his hand as the trumpet.
later, he’d swing his machete
chop, chop,
clearing a path through
the dense, wild bamboo, inch-wide stalks so tall the sky is
block, blocked.
(dusk perennial)

boonie stomps we called them.
dad'd be sweat-covered,
his machete handle
red from the bloody blisters
pop, pop, popping.
(my fifth birthday)

going, going…
the military police announced the girl was gone, too,
and it was
in such a small place.
a few weeks later they found her body.
(a teenager)

i knew her, i knew her.
but i didn’t know her, not in person anyway,
no more boonies for us.
close to the house, close to the house.
stay, stay, stay…
stay away from…

the suspect,
living behind us.
once, mum had spoken to his
mother ‘cause she thought
he’d kicked our cairn terrier;
mum told me a cairn was a stone grave.
maybe he knew something about dogs?
(or maybe he knew)

he didn’t do a good job with her grave;
assuming he wanted it to stay hidden.
but i can’t claim to know him.
i can’t claim, but…

waking, i see him,
walk, walk,
past our house,
our dog bark, barking,
knowing what was coming,
going to the boonies,
a machete
in his hand.

(red, red, red)