His head is full of broken clocks -
seconds hands move quicker than a memory,
but slow enough for anger to feed.
When the clocks are buried, he'll learn
that there is acute beauty in pain's wake,
that it just takes a few screws to re-hinge hanging doors.
In the next room his mum
sleeps with dead men every night.
Her love for him, supple as a willow sapling
and he's only ever addressed her by name.
He sleeps in an old, mashed bed. The sweat
of uncountable bodies that slid over the mattress
grips his skin, his hair, and holds him like the dying
as they try to out-linger death.
At night he spoons out his eyes with dirty fingers
and tosses them through the holes in the walls;
holes where he can fall, and nobody's there
to stop him.
On the stretch of summer days he stands
at his steel window and as the putty dries and cracks
he watches the other children playing.
The flies drop to the ledge and mound in the corners.
When he's older, when nobody missed him
his mum's words flap in his eyes
like digital bluebirds, back from migration
with nowhere to perch; with all the branches
already snapped and pointed, like frozen hands
on broken clocks, like frozen hands
snapped and pointed.
*note: this poem with a handful more will be published around winter.