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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

There is a Lump At The Back of My Head

There is a lump,
back of my head,
top of my neck.
When I touch it
I hear again the thud,
feel again the thud,
and think again of the gravel pit.
You may know the place.
Years later they built a stadium there.
Later they tore that down
to build the business park.

We played war over gravel mountains,
threw rocks at communists only we could see.
In terrible battle we fell to mortal wounds
and (to keep the war from ending)
resurrected ourselves
under new names
and new battle flags
to launch attack
or put up desperate defense.

That day,
when dusking sky and busying avenue
signaled: dinner on the stove back home,
I ran (victorious)
to the top of my gravel mountain.
I yelled, Battles over, let's go!
Then the thud.
I staggered,
reached back to the point of pain,
felt the damp,
looked at my fingers,
saw blood.
I turned,
stared down my mountain to Buddy,
my friend and fellow warrior.
I saw in his eyes
that my pain was no accident
unless you pardon a lousy thrower
for thinking he would miss
when he threw a traitor's rock.
Hurt and bloodied,
forgiveness foregone,
I chased Buddy a mile
and shouted a threat through the screen door
as it slammed between me and his mother's safety.
Crossing the alley,
past my screen door,
I said not a word to my own mother.
Later that night,
under dry blood,
I found a soft lump.
A week later
I could feel the hardened lump.

Now, decades later,
I reach to the back of my head,
hear again the thud,
feel again the thud,
think again of the gravel pit,
either to laugh again at good fun
or to fear again betrayal.


Note: This story is bad science. It is a true story, but my conclusions are false. My second cousin revealed to me that “we” almost all have this lump. This pronounced external occipital protuberance is called the “Anatolian bump.” By “we” I don't mean you. I mean the descendants of my Hungarian great grandparents and of Turks. But, then there are those who say that this too is bad science. Too much confusion to change the story.

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