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:
error
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

Disparity

Originally published in The Moon Magazine, 2017 We only honor the greediest-- Carnegie, Rockefeller, Trump, Hearst-- and never speak of more humble chiefs who chose to pay themselves less than a thousand times their workers rate. Just as no one…
Read
Random Post

The Ocean Listens

Geneva peace talks on a subject of the lives not living in the crematorium heat of a Damascus prison only break bread between those not given a holy perspective on the horrors they’ve driven. Flour, water and time - a…
Read
Random Post

Resist

Every day we awaken to some new atrocity, scandal, misuse and abuse of power at the hands of men. Every day a new tragedy, trauma, act of white male terrorism. Each sunrise piling fear atop compounding fear. We awaken to…
Read
Random Post

Dolls

Forty three. The sell by date of my body has expired. Luckily, I haven't been left on the shelf. Someone took me out of the wrapper a while ago. There's been some deterioration of condition, scuff marks, dents. My skin…
Read