There was an ocean nearby      and a boardwalk from where one night
while sleeping      the boy I was rooming with came limping back
howling      with his ribs smashed by bandits 

Having been up most of the night hearing him moan      even after
the ambulance sped him away      I was tired the next day when
Paula Greenland came to visit me, smiling      At sixteen
she might be my first lifelong friend, I thought 

She walked back home because on this holiday her religion forbid
riding in a vehicle      and she was struck by a truck      dying 
on the way to the hospital      covered in blood 

I was sweeping piles of dust in the dining room when the call 
came and I cried into my stiff, red hotel jacket      All day the
radio played      “Everything is beautiful, in its own way”