THE BOY WHO ATE DANDELIONS

In the deep brown grass

against the hillside

where we drove sleds in winter

four brothers who ruled the park

spread-eagled a boy

with half a brain and a face full of tics,

stuffed his mouth foamy

with white dandelion blooms,

cackled, “Eat! Eat!”

I watched him squirm,

shoot tears and snot

down the curve of his cheek,

blow fluff balls to their seeding ground,

stutter his mouth to a wordless O.

I would see him in supermarket aisles

trying to work out his life,

debating with himself,

toying with celery stalks,

running palm after palm

over the dips of his shaved skull.

Not until I stepped off the excursion bus

at the gates of Dachau ,

not until I saw for myself the field

where exiles begged daily for their lives,

not until I reconciled myself

to the blind instincts

of predatory animals

did I weep at last aloud

for the boy who ate dandelions.

 

 

 

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