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In front of a donut shop         someone's son is shot dead

A witness on condition of anonymity

The slow open vulgar mouth         drawing on a cigarette

In a face once called Forever Young

Now to be known as Never-a-Man

Gone to the world of the working and the prevaricating

of the warring         world of drywalling of lousy test scores

of fishing from a bridge on a brilliant afternoon

                            belt buckle blown undone



Recollect reading to her boy

reading to him in bed         overcome herself

with sleep as if drugged or slugged         then jabbed up again

Come on         Keep reading         Don't stop         Don't ever stop

like she was saying         Beauty cannot         she cannot marry

the Beast         and tonight as on all other rose-scented evens

He stumbles         the Beast he stumbles         from Beauty's empty chamber

In agony         he goes in agony         the fur of his fingers

smoking         until it's her boy he is the one saying

exclaiming         Yes Yes he will he will marry the Beast

                            until he is the one who conks out



as a light pole struck by a drunken car

And suddenly it's raining like plastic

When she stumbles at last from the room

he is the one         who shakes himself awake

and yells         Protect me         and she is the one

who promises exclaiming         Yes Yes she will         I swear

if it kills me I will         as once the mother

of Forever Young shot in front of the donut shop

must have sworn         if it killed her she will         a boy

              So quiet         the report heard from his kin

You wouldn't even notice him on your electric bill

              Over there         it's a different world

              Desperate to be rejoined to this one

from Rising, Falling, Hovering

C. D. Wright

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translated from the Spanish written by
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