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

you’d liberated

Proud

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.