Sunday, 11 March 2018

Somebody’s Son

by Lesléa Newman

was stashed in the doorway
like trash nobody had bothered
picking up. A grown man

curled on his side
one arm bent behind his back
at an ungodly angle

as if he were reaching up
to scratch that spot
between the shoulder blades

that’s impossible to reach
when you’re itchy and alive
one bloodshot eye wide with surprise

somebody’s son, whose tongue
was lolling out, whose white skin
was caked with grease and grime

so thick I could have traced
“wash me” on his back
as if he were a sooty moving van

but he was the only unmoving thing
on that hustle bustle street, 5:00 p.m.
corner of Seventh Ave. and West 59th

hordes of people spilling out of buildings
everyone getting off work at once dying
to get home, kick off the heels

loosen the tie, relax with a stiff
one, nobody had a New York minute
to help out somebody’s son

who stayed still as a stop sign
as the city swirled around him
his pocked cheek cradling

the sweaty concrete step
his flattened feet folded
like two fallen wings

his faded blue jeans stained and holey
somebody’s son, maybe yours?
maybe mine? surely he was somebody’s son

once upon a time

* * * * *

"Somebody's Son" copyright ©2018 Lesléa Newman from Lovely (Headmistress Press, Sequim, WA). Here is a book trailer for Lovely:

Lesléa Newman is a poet, fiction writer, essayist, children’s book writer and anthologist whose 70 books include the poetry collections, Still Life with Buddy, Nobody’s MotherSigns of Love, and October Mourning: A Song for Matthew Shepard (novel-in-verse) which received a Stonewall Honor from the American Library Association. Ms. Newman’s literary awards include poetry fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Massachusetts Artists Foundation; the Burning Bush Poetry Prize; and second place runner-up in the Solstice Literary Journal poetry competition. From 2008-2010 she served as the poet laureate of Northampton, Massachusetts. Currently she is a faculty member of Spalding University’s low-residency MFA in Writing program. A recent poetry collection, I Carry My Mother, received the 2016 Golden Crown Literary Society Poetry Award and was named a “Must-Read” title by the Massachusetts Center for the Book. Her latest book is Lovely (Headmistress Press, Sequim, WA).