Passing the Behavioral Health Center

Late morning on a spring day
for those who are well
and those who are not. The sun
shines on us all: those with somewhere to be
who are moving with purpose
along Seventh Avenue, and those
taking their time
whose appointment was earlier. They
are slow to leave the facility,
stopping for a cigarette
timed to burn down
when the bus is due. Walking
feels easy, half a mile to go
to the post office, nothing particular
in mind, and everything appears familiar
until the man face down
with blood stains on his white and blue
patterned shirt. The panic
has subsided. Police have the situation
in hand, guiding a suspect in handcuffs
into the car while weeping’s gentle rhythm
runs beside the traffic. Stamps bought,
back past the scene, which now
is bound with yellow tape. A reporter
says he thinks there was a stabbing.
Some malcontent
left the place and came back
with a knife. The blade
must have flashed for a second
as the sun caught it
just before it broke skin.

David Chorlton lives in Phoenix and enjoys a view of the desert mountain that occupies its space surrounded by the city. He has had an unusual year in which watching the local wildlife has been a help in his recovery. Read other articles by David.