The birth occurred in the morning and the doctor’s name 
was Italian. There was no catastrophe of mindless proportion 

in Quito, Ecuador that buried thousands alive in a river of mud. 
Neither was it boiling out, but simply mild, for you have checked 

the newspaper’s headlines for that day. The president 
did not call in troops to keep peace among the rioting looters. 

The police never did catch that murderer who left the girl 
child behind the schoolhouse, one shoe off and never found: 

a trophy he retains in an old trunk stowed under his bed. 
At night he takes them out—left shoe, charm bracelet, barrette— 

to touch and smell. His name is not John. The two brown horses 
tethered to the riding pole were grazing in the field when the boy, 

dreaming of Sarah, threw his smoke into the stall and walked away. 
He did not hear the horses stirring, did not write a bad love song, 

practicing three chords on a cheap guitar well into the night. 
There is no Sarah. A woman once again on that day failed to call 

the boiler repairman and he never took the toothpick from his mouth 
to fix her eyeglasses with where the little pin had fallen out.