Monday, October 23, 2017

Robert Arellano


And the fact it belonged to a girl,
a beautiful young woman
whose murder was never solved,
does not help your case at all.

It was Mars Night:
the girls, the Farm Boys, the free,
greasy spread. You'd had more
than a few. Josh was leaning on you.

When you got home,
the dog barked like mad and Josh
was up a tree; he'd left early,
climbed your fence, you caught him.

He told you he had
something to hide; you knew he knew
you had some land, a fence, a dog.
You were his friend.

You guessed he needed you.
It was a gun, and it had a body,
as they say, it had a body
on it.

"Do it in the night," you said,
"when I put the dog up. But do it good:
I don't want to know where; if I can find it
in the morning, then I dig it up."

It was easy to track
to the oak tree.
The dog went right to it.
You covered it with a rotting trunk.

A lot of time went by.
You thought of it there and appreciated
how the blackberries
brambled over that way.

All that time. Iron. A fossil, an artifact.
It would be rusted, gunked up
with mud; the earth had swallowed it
back again.

When they finally turn it up,
Josh is doing time
for another offense and tells a fellow prisoner
who turns out to be a snitch.

And it turns out it is not a gun;
the gun turns out to be a hand.

Bob reads "Mars Night":

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Bob confesses: "Omar's is Ashland, Oregon's oldest cocktail lounge. In the 1940s, before Omer and Hazel Hill could lay the foundation, they pulled mastodon bones from the tarpits of the dry Berkeley Hot Springs. Wednesday is Mars Night (free fry-food, drink specials), but any night a barfly might ask a strange favor."

ROBERT ARELLANO is the author of seven novels including Havana Lunar, which was shortlisted for a 2010 Edgar Award. The standalone sequel, Havana Libre, comes out next month from Akashic Books.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I really like this one. It's a masterful story and a masterful voice reading it.