BYSTANDER

28 December 2016

While watching the evening pass by
A bystander saw the moon fall
Into an open manhole but no one
Else seemed to have noticed at all.
A few minutes later a motorbike
With two masked riders passed by
Slowly before the quiet bystander.
The back rider pulled out a gun
And shot him twice at close range,
And a third time while sprawled
On pavement burdened by his blood.
The bystander died with no one else
Knowing how the moon really fell,
Why he was slain by brazen assassins.
No one dared to approach or help him
For fear of being hit by a stray bullet.
The killing could have been a mistake
In a place of diminished opportunities
Where everyone is worth saving.
He might have been someone careless
In a community where no one can recall
The songs to hush children to sleep.
He might have been part of a lost cause,
A fallen angel who lost his fear to fail
By regaining his faith at the corner store.
He strayed blameless as a bystander
To witness what others failed to see:
The moon falling into a gaping manhole.
Victor Peñaranda
December 28, 2016

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