Kathleen Hammock

November 22, 1963

1616 Crescent Street isn’t there anymore
Just a crumbling rubble, a few dingy white boards to acknowledge its passing
The pink hollyhocks that grew up near the fence are long since gone too
The wire fence, twisted and rusted, still clings to a few splintered posts
But the Mississippi, old muddy, hasn’t failed
Just down the hill and over the tracks it still winds
And I can still sit on its sandy banks and remember

I was five years old then, and Jackie O in pink, smiled
The black limo, so slow and smooth turned onto Main Street
He waved and the crowd cheered, pushing forward to see him
The limo reached Elm Street, but by then he was slumped over

And Mom on the vinyl sofa, surrounded in green wall paper, began to cry
The old black and white television buzzed too, in shock
I sat down, and I cried too
Because something horrible had just happened
And things might never be the same at 1616 Crescent Street

Out the window I could see the pink hollyhocks
They were splattered with blood