In The Bedroom
…the signals we give －yes, or no, or maybe −
should be clear: the darkness around us is deep.
Evening light saturates them.
Shadows eclipse his eyes, mouth. She wants
to hear the story of him crying
over a crow he shot when he was thirteen
walking with friends along a dirt
road. She wants to hear how the bird
fell into the ditch, a ditch filled
with forget-me-nots and yellow
buttercups. She wants to hear how
it hopped in circles, unable to control
its direction. How one of the boys kicked it,
reversing the circles, sending it further
into the ditch. How finally, exhausted,
the bird fell forward gulping air
and ditch water. When it quit moving
the other boys laughed, hard
harder until one boy kicked it again
onto the dirt road where it landed on its back.
The spongy black pads on its feet gripped air,
claws curled into themselves.
This is when her lover remembers
sobbing out of control,
one of the boys punching him
from behind, between his shoulder blades,
knocking him to his knees
calling him Wuss, Mama’s Boy.
The others boys laughing,
walking away. She wants this story,
the silence they sit in after he tells it. She wants
to imagine her lover punched by a bully,
crying. She wants to kiss the soft skin
on his neck. She wants to see him shaking,
watching his feet, walking home alone.
First appeared in The Raven Chronicles, Vol 12#2.