The football players came to beat my brother up.
They came out of the beginning of time
conspiring genetically, cell by cell,
on a bone in the dust of Central Africa.
They rose on stone thighs, their joints cracking
insignificant as thunder to pin his head against
the sidewalk and crush his cheeks.
Paved with every road that brought them there,
the eyes of the football players hauled
their square knuckles to the impact moment.
To my brother pulling the shades on the sight.
On their faces close to his, their toothy mouths
birthing a sound of meat slabs, hacking their cries
out of the leg of an ox and casting the bloody hunk
against a Friday night in 1967.
The football players have gone their ways, each pursuing
the points on a compass. Their heads low
on their shoulders.
Their jaws heavy as rifle stocks.
They came to me out of the doorways almost 25 years ago
to tell me that's your blood on the sidewalk,
dry and brown in the light of a pool hall.
They spoke clearly, matter-of-factly.