Cold Dark Night

Cold Dark Night

On a cold dark night in 1972. On the wet leaves in my parent’s front yard. In Tennessee when the dark melts thru your bones. My younger brother, Clay and I lie on a quilt looking at stars.

It was Christmas vacation. I was a nursing student at Austin Peay State University-independent and and immature-afraid and cocky- Clay was only 11 years old.

He looked up at the sky and said, ” Look at the fire in the sky, shooting bottle rockets into the stars.”

I said, ” Do you hear the wind in the trees whistling through the ghosts?”

He snuggled closer and said, ” Do mother and daddy love me?

When are you coming home? Why does Daddy leave us?”

Before I could answer we were cocooned in a sandwich of childhood fears.

On a dark cold night in September 1986 the policeman came and knocked on the back door.

” Are you the parents of Clay?” they asked.

” Yes, we are.” They knew in their hearts it was the worst news a parent never wants to bear.

” Your son has been murdered his body is at the morgue.

I can’t forget the cold dark night on Sept 25,1986. Clay Baby was 25 years old. And never again on a cold dark night would we look at the stars together.