Collective Unrest

 

The Boys of Nine

February 6, 2019

The child in Yemen was 12-3;
the same gilded age of brilliance and fight
my son will be in 4+5 years.

A tender yet defiant age of nine years, (10 summers) –
aptly filled with friends and fears, bullies and tears –

And all the years of magic that await them open-armed –
If they can stay alive, if they can just survive; not spill over
like cups of juice on a formica countertop at the Church for the taking.

Or just like shoes lined up outside evening prayer at the Mosque.

And our soft-eyed 12-3 scans the rows of shoes
as he could take a pair so easily, his youthful mind imagines
fleet-footing away like a kite on an updraft – with the Nikes, no, the Pumas.

But his father would rather walk like a barefoot Jesus than learn his son to be a thief –

Meanwhile, our tender-faced 4+5 peruses
the Dixie cups of juice
during coffee time at the Church – his face sullen
with Prophetic dismay:
So unhappy is he with his selection of devoted Martyrs.

Yet move he must, as the line for the animal crackers grows and grows,
un crescendo, poco a poco…. a human Boléro – a
bell-shape bulge behind the young boy and his errant indecision.

His mother will look up impatient: Aunt Bobbie’s quiche awaits her.
She will snap her jaws in disapproval –
Hurry, son, [good] people are waiting [for you] – just choose one [for the love of God!].

She will be embarrassed by her offspring; his inconsideration of the Congregation’s needs –

But I don’t like apple juice,
he says, the defeated nature of the answer an easy justification for
his mother to grab his small arm, shake it;
pull him away from the counter, like a child caught stealing –
she’s so mad she could cut off his hand; shame him in public for bringing shame to her,
right before the Pastor’s eyes to see his spoilt-ness.

This is not her fault, she thinks; she knows.

And at that moment the purple paint dapples his arm,
a fuse spits: it can almost be heard by an Atheist’s ear –
it crackles like kindling and takes hold in his soul like archaic B.C. fire –

Rises up from ash into air, and
fleet-footed it flies him away from there –
like a kite riding a thermal, up so high – so far from the crime of his issues.

While in this same moment,12-3 sits outside the Mosque –
hot and alone, dreamy with thirst,
and the bombs commence to rain down like the gift of April showers
washing over his small shoulders –

The spring hath silenced our young 9-1 (10 summers)
due to the interpolation of: – (12 – 3) + (4 + 5),
For when numbering children within the gap
we find the value of X is always = 0.

 

 

Elisabeth Horan is a poet and mother from Vermont. She writes to let others know they are not alone in their struggles with mental illness and disability. She has work at Milk + Beans, Writer’s Resist, The Mad River, formercactus, Feminine Collective and many other wonderful places you enjoy. @ehoranpoet & ehoranpoet.com

 

Please follow and like us:
Newer Post

Closet

It’s not a walk-in closet, bi-fold doors, white shuttered rectangle for clothes, I make much more: flashlight, library stash, shag floor, a hole I lay in darkness -- carpet snake. I’m not allowed to lock a bedroom door. They own…
Read
Older Post

Sinking City

Beyond rescue, Miami is a cruise ship lost at sea with no lifeboats, throwing an all night dance party, music and stamping feet drowning out the sound of taking on water— but no,  not lost, the sea knows exactly where…
Read
Random Post

complacency

Is telling the age of silent film to keep tongue-tied at the rise of the talkies. Is expecting a shining staple not to resist the fanged dentition of the remover. Is demanding a rainbow not to mourn the movement of…
Read
Random Post

to white folks

“if i had a son, he would look like Trayvon.” —President Obama ​ if we can be sisters you pressin hot comb to my hair while al green whispers in memphis heat me fussin tellin you ain’t no boy gonna…
Read
Random Post

patriarchal residue

I suffer from historical hysteria sponsored by men who explored and discovered the wandering uterus which means I need an orgasm to control my outbursts my vagina is a sheath for a sword my clitoris should be hidden from view…
Read
Random Post

for the girls

TW for sexual assault and rape   this poem is for the girls who get called “too political” for being feminists. this poem is for the girls whose “no’s” wilt fast, who memorize dark satin pillowcase against cheek and the…
Read