The Boy Who Listens

· Winner of the 2013 Poetry Contest ·

March 15, 2014

He receives slivers of
gnash and still—
but not like others.
He doesn’t upturn his face,
front his body,
meet it with
puffed-out cat lungs.
And he doesn’t wreathe
his arms tightly around his torso.
Instead, he turns his neck
and offers his pinnas.
They pool to the skull—
catching back eddies
of vibrations jagged
and golden.
That twinge deep in his ribs,
pinch his fingertips white,
shift his marrow.
Stacking, staking, sticking in.
Until he is porcupined inside
with neon quills.
And if he doesn’t catch his breath
(which he doesn’t),
then you also won’t see him
scratching the brambles
off his skin
or scraping the sharp away.
He’s a dragonfly
pinned to cardboard,
glinting blue, glinting green,
with veins long practiced
in softening every metal shard
into bright, bright steam.
He rests here
unstruggling—
only inclining
his head.

March 15, 2014

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