Will You Speak To Me?-Stephen Fuller

“Here I am, now, boy, here I am.

Will you speak to me of monsters?

Will you speak to me?”

 

Boy turns his eyes up, blank from long absence

He opens his mouth and looks for a word to begin.

A silence slips from his tongue that tells more

Than any mash up of words can and we stare

Until our eyes blackened and dry beg for mercy

From the desperate plea for an understanding

We cannot afford, the cost of his words too high.

On my knees, not to beg, not to pray, nothing but

 

But…

 

His eyes follow my descent. Now something else slips

From his lips, more telling than the silence that collapsed

Me:  “You. It was you.”  My blackened eyes see the brown

In his.  His hand reaches up and wipes sand from my cheeks

His soft skinned fingers bleed against the coarsest of skin.

Drops of his blood now on my cheek like necessary tears

To drain the black from my soul.  “What do I do now, Boy?”

“Speak to me of the monster…”

 

“I thought you would be safe here, so I left to defend us.”

“There was nothing to defend, without me inside you.”

“There was nothing to defend, without you inside me.

And so the monsters came, one by one, and for a time

I won, and chest decorated with medals, head praised,

Onward and deeper into the world, farther from you,

The monster who proved more intelligent than designed

Evolved to meet my defenses and slip inside them.

 

Once inside, it ate from the inside out until nothing

Remained of us but the poison half a man becomes

Without the boy he left behind who could steer him

Back into goodness like an anti-virus, like penicillin.

Until finally, it all collapsed, bones could bear the weight

No more, and the contorted flesh no longer fit the skin.

They all stared at me, a beast, a demon, a too human man

For the hero he pretended.  There was nothing to defend.”

 

“Without me inside you.”

 

“Here I am now, boy, here I am

Will you speak to me of monsters?

Will you speak to me?”

 

“No.

I have no words, just my hand and weary legs.

Help me stand, help me walk, help me out of here.

Let me back inside,

I know the way to the stream

That trickled down the hill in the woods out back.

There we will drink clean water

To quench your thirst.”

 

He turns his eyes up at mine, our brown mirrors

Look inside one another and see

There was no monster.

There was no monster,

Just a child needing to know love

From the man who left to defend him

When there was nothing to defend,

Without him inside.

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