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I was thinking about Roland Young,
a childhood acquaintance who
was mutilated by a serial killer.
I was thinking that if this killer
had been charged when he was
arrested years earlier when
first under suspicion, if judicial
incompetence had not allowed him
to roam free like a hungry wolf –
no, not like a wolf, wolves kill
only in defense or to feed,
more like a hungry demon lurking
in the deepest regions of hell –
Roland might still be alive.

I was thinking about this, god knows
why, maybe from an impulse
to honor him in some meager way,
to remember him as a sweet-faced boy
with shaggy brown hair and shy brown eyes
who sat next to me in Art who loved
Led Zeppelin and surfed at Huntington
Beach…well, I was thinking about him,
when you suddenly started telling me
about your trip to Disneyland, and when
my thoughts merged with this allusion
to such cravings for joy, a chill
shot through my very core.