birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

The White Bone

It was a great Friday night basketball game at the Windom H.S. gym. The stands were full and loud. The band was even louder. The cheerleaders, well, they were dancing and waving their arms, exhorting both sides. It was hot and intense and I loved everything about it. Midway through the game on a long pass i jumped and clashed head with another player, caught the pass and went on to score a basket. As I wiped the sweat from my head, I realized it was blood and there was a lot, but it didn't hurt. I saw my coach jump off the bench, I heard a sort of gasp from some of the stands. "I'm OK" i remember yelling. Coach Basche yelled back as he ran out on the floor, "No you're not" and he lead me to the bench as the blood gush from the gash in my head, just above my right eye.

My mom and my uncle, among lots of others were in the stand and my uncle was a doctor so they quickly lead me back into the locker room to check out my injury.

Uncle John had a small black bag with him and as he cleaned up the gash he showed it to me in a mirror and there I could clearly see and I clearly remember the white bone of my cranium shining through my split skin.

My uncle said,"I am going to have to stitch this up or you are going to have a long, ugly scar right above your eye."

I splashed some sort of dis-infectant on the gash, which stung, and then proceed to simply sew up the gash as he talked to me about the game.

"Can I play" was all i asked. "You can, but if you hit it again, it will be bad and the scar will be very big."

So. Of course, I went out and played in the second half. I never hit my head, but the stitches did not hold and he had to repeat the process after the game. And. Of course, as the gash healed, the wound was large and the scar was big and ugly and it is still there. A reminder to me,always when I look in a mirror of a Friday night basketball game many, many years ago.

The Map of My Past Marked on My Flesh

That Type of Childhood