he spoke to mice and sparrows and his hair was white at the age of 16. his father beat him every day and his mother lit candles in the church. his grandmother came while the boy slept and prayed for the devil to let loose his hold upon him while his mother listened and cried over the bible.
he didn't seem to notice young girls he didn't seem to notice the games boys played there wasn't much he seemed to notice he just didn't seem interested.
he had a very large, ugly mouth and the teeth stuck out and his eyes were small and lusterless. his shoulders were slumped and his back was bent like an old man's.
he lived in our neighborhood. we talked about him when we got bored and then went on to more interesting things. he seldom left his house. we would have liked to torture him but his father who was a huge and terrible man tortured him for us.
one day the boy died. at 17 he was still a boy. a death in a small neighborhood is noted with alacrity, and then forgotten 3 or 4 days later.
but the death of this boy seemed to stay with us all. we kept talking about it in our boy-men's voices at 6 p.m. just before dark just before dinner.
and whenever I drive through that neighborhood now decades later I still think of his death while having forgotten all the other deaths and everything else that happened then.