Of the recurring characters
from the childhood stories my dad told
there is one I know the origin of

Carved in the wood of a gazebo
near the snack bar of the swimming pool
where my father and his brother went
were three names their fingers found


Names of some juveniles
from another town
in another time,
a far away place

A bond was formed,
their friendships made this trio
excited this day, I imagine
in the middle of a summer month
young and innocent,

One of them brought a knife,
or maybe got out a key.
It was one of their ideas to leave their mark
their first names in the wooden post of that place
and the others who went along with it

It was that instigator—the way I see,
that brought the blade, and
who handed it to the others
that was the last
to lay his own name down


His true friend, however
the way my father told it
isn’t mentioned in graffiti
but is clearly
in the stories
that my father told
me and my brother.
His name was Tipper.

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