Poem by Kayla Wilford
Art by Karen Zhang
the boy is barely a man, black clothes veiling frail bones
and a victorian disposition under moonlight and mist.
he sits on a sad corner street under neon light
and butchers meat and wonders where to go.
but the concrete is cold, frozen feet tucked under
the dim gold of bus bench chrome, and he supposes
home was never more than a brief room to roam.
a roof to hide from snow, throw rocks through windows,
crawl in attics too low. well, caesar’s palace
collapsed and now this hideaway haven of
blacklist crow and night-kissed raven is all that’s left.
free of faux-family, fate’s theft, he sits
on grey ground, gone is blessed green grass.
road’s pavement becomes twilight’s tired chateau,
but still he does not know what to do, nor where to go.
and it’s much too cold to be sitting still,
pale fingers shaking in shallow pockets, sweet
thoughts soaked in sad brine floating near nighttime.
memories flash by of sunrise eyes and lime sour smiles
but he’s walked too many miles for sweet sleep
to reach him now. so he fixes one prayer
in this fear painted affair, and to heaven he avows.
i don’t wish to live but i don’t wish to die.
a coward’s declaration, death replies. you may choose one
or another, but to choose none at all, to leap blind wild,
is simply to suffer immortal, my unfortunate child.
you know this sad end so certain to be true?
yes, death replies, and you would do well to learn so, too.
thus, listening to the soft score of silence and corner store
voices, contemplating his choices under coal-lined clouds and
sombre black sky, the boy of barely age, to assuage
his new-found friend, decided life was worth a try.