Kylan Rice

BOYHOOD

With an empty jar: a day spent moving the river.
God is a pause in the grass,
with one shoulder blade up and the other bunked
in dark, all-powerful fur.

All summer, someone
was shaking me awake from my nap but instead of a firefighter

who’d axed himself a hole in my boudoir
it was just a curtain touching my shoulder made of
warm orange wind.

The day walks in with its big maple leaf discovery—
my mother cutting carrots into strips and passing for glass, everything

pressing up against her like exploding rhododendrons.

God halloos for me out in a deerstalker cap.
A dreamy terror: unsnapping twigs.
My mother’s idea of a good toy

was an empty jar without a lid. God with either his bear hug or trap.
Every door lost on its hinge. My mother going back to night

school to learn the chronological order of things:

_______Fill the jar with shells to learn from.
_______Say: the deal was, you eat this!
_______Teach him that to torture a river is wrong.

He will always struggle from the water’s edge.
He will think a pile of stones is an altar instead of a strange heart.
He will not mean it when he says:

You have your heaven, so go to it.

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