to Donny Ralph's father's garage doors, spread-eagled,
it was the summer they chased us almost every day.
Careening across the lawns they'd mowed for money,
on bikes they threw down, they'd catch us, lie on top of us,
then get up and walk away.
That afternoon Donny's mother wasn't home.
His nine sisters and brothers gone - even Gramps, who lived with them,
gone somewhere - the backyard empty, the big house quiet.
A gang of boys. They pulled the heavy garage doors down,
and tied us to them with clothesline,
and Donny got the deer's leg severed from the buck his dad had killed
the year before, dried up and still fur-covered, and sort of
poked it at us, dancing around the blacktop in his sneakers, laughing.
Then somebody took it from Donny and did it.
And then somebody else, and somebody after him.
Then Donny pulled up Mary Lou's dress and held it up,
and she began to cry, and I became a boy again, and shouted Stop,
and they wouldn't.
Then a girl-boy, calling out to Charlie, my best friend's brother,
who wouldn't look
Charlie! to my brother's friend who knew me
Stop them. And he wouldn't.
And then more softly, and looking directly at him, I said, Charlie.
And he said Stop. And they said What? And he said Stop it.
And they did, quickly untying the ropes, weirdly quiet,
Mary Lou still weeping. And Charlie? Already gone.