The boy has come back
from the night-market of Sixth Street
is at the door with his bicycle & his eye
black as quarry mud. He won't face me,
speaks to my neck, shoulders down,
ready to close. I want to say this right:
he looks like someone stole his antlers,
like lamplight is heavy, like a photograph
of a photograph. He says some men tried
to eat him. He remembers that I fed him.
Can he sleep here? Maybe live here?
Do I have anything to cover his eye?
I dreamt I was your finger
the one you lost as a kid, clipping roses
with your mother. It began with falling
from your hand, from the dripping V
of the shears. I landed in the ripe mud
forgetting, who I was leaking out in pulses:
I am a girl. I was a girl. Whose thoughts
are these? The dark, the dark. The earth
carried your voices, I could feel myself
talked about, looked for, not found,
though I pointed & pointed. I'm coming
back to you, slowly like an arrow shot
underground. I woke knowing this.
Brendan Constantine has appeared in Ploughshares, RUNES, and elsewhere. Letters To Guns was released in 2009
from Red Hen Press. He is poet-in-residence at Loyola Marymount University Extension and the Alzheimer's