Persephone as a Boy


He never says what he feels.

His father used to say, "Your face is like a flower."

He wilts when he thinks about loneliness.

At seven he wakes with the sun, imagines it burning through the window.

He dreams he has cancer but has never been to a doctor.

Yesterday he imagined it even better: a spectacular New York end: crazy taxi,

stray bullet, runaway train—

In the final scene he's lying there with wide eyes,

mouth trembling like a wilting flower, struggling to speak to his father,

who is holding his hand and saying, "Don't try to say anything. I love you."

At eight he walks to the corner store for small things, just to remind himself he is alive:

daisies, oatmeal, salt.

Passing the subway stairs on his way home he realizes he could go underground

here and by ticket and transfer not emerge again from the earth for hundreds

of miles.


Places I've Been

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