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A Memorial in the Neighborhood
It is a young oak tree and a stone
with a bronze plaque in it, for
a boy who lived all his life
in a house up the street from ours,
near the park entrance-road. He died in
his room over the garage, a suicide.
His mother had her memorial for him
placed on a piece of ground scraped bare
and packed hard, in the weedy area
at the upper end of the park,
between the creek and a trailhead
where you start out for the back-country.
We never knew, but knew of
the family. I glimpsed the father once --
handsome, dark-haired. Took off when the boy
was small, and the brothers grown
and gone; among the cousins and uncles
were artists and actors; some widely known.
The boy himself was a painter,
quiet and shyly friendly
the one time when I met him. After
his death we would see his mother
now and then, for a year or so,
then she sold the house and left.