Boy

The boy with two uncles named Marvin
who does not like to be called Boy.

But he is one. 

An endless series of uncles, and one
jabs him in the ribs.
Too many aunts and uncles, from the days
when you had to have a large progeny
to work the family farm.

Old Testament times.
Stone-throwing that still goes on. 

How’d you like that, boy? 
How’d you like that? 
Huh, boy?

His mother is an isolated name
in a sea of letters, the last born of her clan,
bearing a different title.

By the time the boy was born,
the migration had become, kids leaving
when they became teenagers. 
Picture them either dozing on the couch
at graduation, still in cap and gown, if they
made it that far, or loping in droves
over the hills for another life.

Blame it on all the soda and fast food.
The junk television.

When he is an older man, 
he will go back, but he won’t stay. 
Home just won’t be the same anymore. 

He will love it, miss it deep down,
there will always be a mountain inside him
next to a lump of emotion when he thinks
of the place. 

He will want to return. 
But he won’t.

There is a part of the boy that will
always walk in the woods with his father, 
journeys woven into the fabric of who he is. 

His father, who crawled under trains,
the scream of the whistle stealing your
senses.

After disability, you just do what you can. 
Maybe an August trip to Myrtle Beach. 
That was when school didn’t start
until the end of August. Summer was allowed
to meet a conclusion.

These days, the kids have to go back early
to get ready for their series of tests that never
seem to end. 

But the boy always had his birthday
untouched by school’s icy hand.

Wouldn’t be that way now.

Even as a man, he thinks, am I still a boy? 
When did I become a man? 
Is it official yet?

 

Tennessee

I am a writer and teacher. Right now, I am blogging at dehartreadingandlitresources.blogspot.com, where I post reviews, interviews, essays, and other things reading and literature-related. I also have a chapbook, The Truth About Snails, available at Amazon and am working on a second poetry collection now.