Sunday, February 14, 2010

Boys Will Be Boys

Scuffed knees crouch in the dirt,
tiny fingers wrap around a stone
nervous smiles, tension
the air is almost holy in its solemnity.

He raises his arm,
reels back,
gives a nervous grin to the others
who wait, anticipate

he launches it forward.

and with the crackling crashing crumbling glass
his heart beats big, beats hard, beats fast.

Only a child
but the desire to destroy
the perverse curiosity in dismantling
what you do not understand
courses thick flooding into every
of his chest

They all fall in line
taking turns
rushing to make their own awful crash
before all the glass in the windshield is gone

One boy steps up,
his arms small and wiry
the joints in his elbows protruding,
nearly visible under translucent skin

His rock takes two hands to lift
somehow, between his tiny boyish frame
and his budding primal adrenaline
he is able to lift it and heave it forward

The image of
what it is
to be a man
flashed in his too-big, too-blue eyes
as the metal in the hood crumpled
under the weight of the boulder

but after the groan of the metal
they heard another sound.

Something pitiful
somewhere between a squeal and a whimper
a dying cry.

They crept forward to investigate
pried the rock off the abandoned car
pulled the hood back gingerly

A mouse was crushed, flattened
its colors disturbingly vivid, and all-too clear
smeared against the sooty-black interior of the car

and from a hole in a pipe
a baby mouse crept out
crying for its mother.

The boys stared a moment
the scrawny one finally spoke,
realizing suddenly
what it is
to be a man.
"I think we should go."

He choked back tears
as he walked home
trying not to kick up dust
trying not to disturb the earth
any more.

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