Encounter with Mentally Challenged Boy Who Was Murdered Eight Months Later For Disclosing the Location of a Meth Lab – Hungry Mother Park, Marion VA , July 2010
Those who cross over
the bridge to the little amphitheater
have the impulse to jump on stage,
bow to the empty pine benches.
Everyone shares this primitive instinct
to be on the stage.
That day he came right before the rain.
Do you think he bowed like we did?
He was too slow for regular school,
too slow for me.
I’m not that kind.
So I missed a chance to photograph him,
to freeze him, to add him to my collection.
Only eight months later he was nailed to a tree
like a yellow swallowtail
pinned in a cigar box
and set on fire.
He was a spirit when we met him,
a ghost, an annoying insect
I wouldn’t tolerate in my ear.
I regret shutting him out
of a chance to say something.
I know this is hypocritical now,
but I’m not that kind.
What kind will you be?
Will you be a generous woman who smiles
while enduring dim court jesters?
Years from now will you be satisfied
with the photos from that day,
knowing there is a phantom
just out of sight?
Cindy R. Goff is originally from Chilhowie, Virginia. She received her M.F.A. from George Mason University in 1993. Her poetry has appeared in many publications including Exquisite Corpse, Hawaii Review, and Ploughshares. Her first book of poems, Appalachian Flood was published in 2009. Her new book of poems, The Gods of Greenery, is forthcoming.http://cindygoff.blogspot.com/
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