Broken run. Dark alley gauntlet. Blood. Leaping garbage pails. There were sirens, blue-red flashing lights, and a whistle that bleated. Out of breath, body trembling, down Rio Grande Street, past the wog market, clamoring cars, another black alley. Down one block, crooked old Jews strewn on the barbed fence, bent like swastikas, another breath.

Past shattered windows, duct tape crosses stretch across glass, scarlet-streaked graffiti scribbles, steel-barred entrance. Past them. Slipping on the crumbled flower pots, these nights keep getting darker. Past them all. Tombs of shale and bone. Mothers’ doctor, the orthodontist’s, across the crimson square. Whirling on concrete. Up the fence, straight to the moon.

Another corner, ricochet gunshots. Tailor made jerkin sleeves waving to me, smiling hatred. Turning, a dark resonant voice, “Hey you…” Past the five and dime, reeling on stone, tuning the horsey-go-round. Grabbed from behind, screaming at fingers clutching, can’t escape. Sprawling on the sidewalk, head full of blood. Answers not fast enough, these nights keep getting darker. Explosion, store front fracturing. The fingers tighten, body twitching, wet chest on my face. Kicking at the dead weight, pulling and clawing; release.

Feinstein’s pet shop, old jewfish, jaws pried apart, prayers draining; a cylinder hole in glass. Jeweler’s, reeling echoing plea, “Stop! You!” Blackened by the swirling veils of night. Don’t get close. Close to the buildings. Too many exits, posterns, outlets, eyes peer out from arms of wool cardigan. Past them, past the stores, these nights keep getting darker. Liquor spitting from hidden cradle of riddled plate-glass, neon flashing CLOSED still buzzing. Turn to take, it waving. Kaboom!

Lunge and go. Ricochet whining. Turn that strip ghetto left. The wind drinking me in, my feet no longer touching. that final stretch, steep and straight, head full of blood. A scream and gunshot, these nights keep getting darker.

Burning up the night, all those windows flying by. The invisible world before me…only one man left peripheral on the horizon…it went through my head a million times. Seeing him there by my side, with a good angle. Taking aim. I’ve watched him all my life close in.