Chiron Alston

Tribes

Hold my hand while I tell you this story.

It begins with a picket fence.  Not mine.


The one he never built.  I’ll squeeze your

hand when code words have to be used.


No code there.  That squeeze was just for

sensing our methods.  When he planted


hyacinth where his picket fence should

have sprouted, we knew a change was


signaled, but saw no strange cars rolling

by to take note.  I squeezed your hand on


hyacinth.  We use that word for rebellion.

When we grilled that summer, we stocked


the ice chest often.  Cold beer a necessity

when staring down hyacinth.  We say ice


for fear.  Perhaps I forgot to squeeze.  One

of us prayed to God, while another drove a nail


into his chest with a claw hammer.  I squeezed

because we use God for misdirection.  One


of us pulled the nail using the same hammer.

No squeeze.  Hammer means hammer.

Chiron is a research administrator for Oregon State University, College of Pharmacy.  He is the father of two daughters and lives in the Portland area with his wife.  Before life in Oregon, he was a stage actor (before the children), a journeyman printer, a restaurant owner and computer systems manager.   He is currently pursuing his MFA in writing at OSU - Cascades.