I Wasn’t There

by Glover Davis

When they murdered Charles Cunningham, my first
best friend, I was five hundred miles north
of The Aztec Drive-In Theatre where they found him
on his knees leaning on a metal stand,
face white as painted speakers dotting the acres
like markers at Normandy or Arlington.
Charles might have smiled a little, licked his lip.
He may’ve thought some adolescent insult
or challenge was an act until he closed
with two of them, whoever they were, and a blade
slide into him and twisted toward his heart.
I have an alibi. I wasn’t there
to stand beside him as the huge screen took
the colors broken from a beam of light,
and painted heroes up in front of him.
I would’ve been asleep at my cousin’s house.
Oaks, redwoods, pines, the great horned owl and deer
rustled around me all that night as Charles’
blood pooled beneath him on the asphalt where
he knelt before some stupid melodrama.
An usher caught him in a flashlight beam,
then gently shook a shoulder, touched his throat
but there was nothing anyone could do
for Charles Cunningham.

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