Sunday, 22 July 2012

The skin is not a concrete slab

He can stay still for hours, skin soaked
in the sun’s rays, the flesh a cloth
darkened like the devil by the light.

The sun penetrates deep -

his boyish heart thumps against concrete
like a drunken father’s steps down the hallway;
an echo of life despite the grief.

On the concrete slab, laid instead of grass,
the boy,  like a sunflower, follows the day’s
movement across the yard –

a lizard warming itself for the night ahead.

Behind closed eyes, faces and words, the colour
of lobster flesh, glow like the passing credits
of a Walt Disney film.

Like the small bones of a filleted fish,
the hairs on his arms and legs
gleam white, bleached by sunlight.

Bare feet through the days, shirtless,
shorts the only barrier between skin
and sun’s welcomed warmth.

Late in summer, new school books covered
with last year’s promises, holidays draw to a close -
night-time epics ended  earlier by mother's voice.

In bed, chestnut skin, his pride, burns
in the darkness. He pushes nose against hot shoulder,
inhales deep the day as it ebbs into night.

The sun gave him love the world withheld;
not that he understood, no one did then, the damage
done for the sake of a few compliments.

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