This isn’t for the boy who’s gonna make it
Although I write about him too often
To fill that empty heart space with daffodil scented air
when he’s gone
This is for the one I forgot
A passing point of refracted light
in the peripheral
I read a poem today about a boy who stole things
and I remembered that night you called me and
offered to lift from Kmart anything I wanted.
Watches perfume…you laundry listed all the things
Like a child with Crayola murals on the white living room
walls you wanted so badly to impress me
You showed up at the family reunion I hated to go to
the one where I felt as out of place as you cause why
acknowledge the moonshiners and molesters their
cans of cheap American beer and dirty mesh trucker caps
who threw your Pap away like graying meat? By the creek
you picked me up wedding threshold style like I weighed
nothing despite that you were slimmer than me the energy
beneath your skin like fire brimming in iron chambers with
no chimney raging to get out
And I was snow white fifteen. And I was afraid of you.
I couldn’t get you off the phone and wrote my dad a note for
once relishing those harsh tones reserved to make me quake
I said “say I have to go. Now!” It was the only cruelty I knew more
subtle than honesty Of why–at fifteen–animal wound open
I couldn’t save myself let alone you I was glad
when you stopped calling.
I feel like years later my mom said you’d been arrested
for drugs or assault or something of the like
the devil in me whispered to the angel in me
“see: I told you so”
the devil in me said “you could never have saved him.
He would’ve eaten your fear like sweet plum colored candy.”
“Like you,” the light in me asks?
Maybe it wasn’t the trembling or the cowering he wanted.
Maybe it was the snow white girl who took walks by the creek
and kissed all her stuffed animals at night
In a pink bedroom with clean sheets
and a mother who didn’t drink or scream
and a father not as badly broken beyond repair
in the picket fence house with non shuttered windows
That he found sweet.