Too alive to it, too aware of it.

How it fits in mine but does not resemble
my own. An animal’s hand.

The one thing no one else wanted.

She asks me to help her and her idiot son down
the wet sidewalk. Slowly, I walk backwards

watching him, his eyes rolled up
like an animal enraged,

lost in himself in a way
only animals are.

It is not love, it is custody that binds them.

It is not love, it is not wanting to be alone, not
knowing what it means to be alone.

The world, around us, is enraged.

Is this animal, this child so near
to me in the dark.

And it is terrible to be among them, to be like them.
His misshapen face, his hands always grabbing.

And her tireless, her never ending.

We are, all of us, enraged.

Meaning, we will hurt each other.
Meaning, we do already.

Without effort or apology, it happens and it happens
and it happens. The child whose cruelty is a part of him.

The mother who cannot get away, her eyes
turned up, her animal face.

And what she says to me, you can’t know,
you’ll never know.

Too alive to him, too aware of him.

The one thing no one else wanted.

Where, mother, do you look for me?


Joshua Kryah is the author of two collections of poems, We Are Starved (Center for Literary Publishing, 2011) and Glean (Nightboat Books, 2007). He teaches at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas where he is the poetry editor of Witness. In the spring of 2013 he will be the Thornton Writer-in-Residence at Lynchburg College.

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