When I Was Young

When I was young, I saw him in a field
pressing his temples
like the pain was too intense
to speak
Every word he said was a wheeze
His sternum was astray
blood leaking into an empty cavern
His own stinging void, his own perdition
Pieces of masking tape
were stuck haphazardly to his breast
from where he tried
to pull his center into focus
A poppy, red and angry, reminded him of his lost friend
the missing heart
He nestled the flower
in his lapel
A wayward date to a town hall dance
A perfect pair they were: fragile and sanguine.

by Rachel Kane


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