Vol. 3, No. 1: Rainbow Curve photo

Mike BernierEd Meek

Mike Bernier was a dead shot from the corner.

I’d feed him on a fast break

knowing he’d make it good.

Like me, he had an attitude.

Coach Kudo kept him after practice for drills.

My friend Richard caught Kudo one night

pummeling Mike in the showers.

Halfway through the season

Mike didn’t show up for school.

Two weeks later the principal announced

on the crackling loud-speaker

Mike had died of a mysterious kidney ailment.


Mike’s old man was a disciplinarian.

Richard said he’d told Kudo to keep the kid in line.

It could have been Kudo or his dad

who did Mike in—hitting him one time too many

where the bruises wouldn’t show.

In those days we didn’t question

A fourteen-year-old dying

of a mysterious kidney ailment

though we all wondered aloud about Kudo

who pushed us up against the lockers

for fooling around in Health

and lifted us by our hair

for failing to tuck in our shirts.


Louis Cook was the one who finally KO’d Kudo

one afternoon in the parking lot after school.

That Kudo never reported it should’ve told us something.

Me, he liked because I’d suckered a guard from Dedham

who got away with fouling me under the boards.

Take it easy, Tiger, Coach Kudo said to me on the bench,

his smile more of a sneer. We understood each other.

I smiled back.