Abandoned, this was the thing,
the term, the perfect verbiage
for what happened,
an emptiness created from nothing.
Particular to the extreme.
Every facet of the event
personalized & annotated & filed
in immediate memory.
It was not the family.
It was him and him alone.
The pain’s radius a tight circle
enveloping his child body
preserving all the elements
as they were at that time. Because
that’s when it split, his life, his eternal timeline.
time synced up to a single catastrophe,
before & after.
He was playing video games, Zelda
songs of the forest,
fairies & time travel & green tunics.
His father still had the knife in his hand
standing in the doorway, swaying,
a bit uneasy in the legs.
He called Prater a name random and unestablished,
They never talked like this.
Father & son,
emotionally reserved & incapable,
they kept a steady distance
always sure to turn away
when feelings swelled up and became insufferable.
His father swayed.
Lower lip swollen,
he drooled words & mumbled information,
where he was going & why & what had happened,
from the kitchen,
the clash of several metals and a woman’s scream.
The knife glinted bloodless in an unknown light.
And his father swayed.
He rocked on his heels like a neanderthal.
Prater broke from the screen just once and briefly.
He captured in a second’s glance the terror of a man demolished,
and turned away,
back to the digital world,
the open map,
where he galloped on the back of a stallion
toward pinkmisted mountains & a castle in the distance.
Written at 12:27 at night, in my office, in Agoura Hills CA.