8 zero+1 scarring digits tic toc glossie phanein and coy constellations or blood by boards avadhoota where no divine mthrs stay

by Brian Michael Barbeito

I am seven and it is in one of those spring stretches where temperatures proceed enough to make walking acceptable if not amicable. Pop cans and chip bags once boasting glossy surfaces and daring hues now faded to match asphalt fields. Other bits of things from the world, where else?...-twigs and branches, sand and dust or small bits of steel swirl around-go about and are Biblical in that they have no place to rest their heads. I traverse thru a place near the industrial corridor. There is a school and then I cut into where the playground itself lives a threatened life due to the encroaching infrastructure. Two boys of about twelve or thirteen sit cross-legged and leaning forward in order to play Bishop, the game where each player takes turns quickly positioning a knife between still fingers.

Stares from harder vibrations.

Eyes a bit older than their years.

Assessing me.

The wind can do many things but mostly it just winds.

Does a voice say, 'Where is your mother?' or is that just a dream, spirit message, or waking hallucination?

The world always feels like it is ending but it never really ends.

Eyes keen alert moderately hostile.

It will be decades later that I shall notice certain groupings of people develop and contain an extra-reservoir of intuition or psychic prowess. Groups that live far outside of libraries. Few people will believe me though.

They go back to playing and the one w/the knife asks what I want so I reply.

I can do that.

He smiles at the other. The other looks at me but talks to the knife holder. They have stopped the game.

He can't do it. He is a little kid.

I can do that.

The one w/ the knife stands up and points it, using the blade to usher me over. I take the step forward. He stares down at the board positioned on the ground and then up again.With a quick motion he tosses the knife around and holds the blade now in his palm. I fight vertigo and wonder for an instant if there are really stars behind the dull gray sky. I push toes housed in shoes. I try and brace the ground w/all ten toes in order to stay focused. It is not really fear that I worry about but the spirit, though I do not call it that, always only halfway in the body and halfway out, will float away to somewhere. I manage a pronounced and determined blink.

Take it, the other says.

I kneel down instead of sitting and begin the game. I go slowly and then gain a momentum. The knife makes a sure sound as it hits the board  it feels like there are dots or marks in the wood. I increase the speed of the knife, surprised that I am unafraid. I stay at the increased rate for a while and then go even faster. They are saying something but it sounds like their voices are underwater. I do not look up. I keep going, going, going, and going. The knife denotes sounds on the board and the sounds are the notes of a strange song never sung before while the spaces of air are the silences between the notes. There is a wind and with it comes the smell of garbage from the industrial corridor.

Dot, dot, dot.

Going, going, going.

I have won something. I have overtaken something and a shift has occurred but I don't know what it is. I sense the two boys step back but I still do not look up. A moment later I glance to the side. As I look back again to the direction of the knife and the board I am coming down with the knife but it doesn't make the board. It hits the left forefinger. The red is just borne. Glossy and confidant as the pop cans and chip bags once were. It travels some and involves both the finger next to it and the wooden board underneath in its trouble.