Ryan G. Van Cleave





With his tiny, glass-eyed head,
it’s no wonder the girls laughed
as he skyrocketed into adulthood,
called him “Bones” and “Spindle-
shanks,” their middling taste for
pain and adolescent agony satiated
by his cuffless trousers, too-tight
sneakers, the way he cracked his
skull on door frames or bunk beds
or wickedly deceptive trees. But
what none of them knew was the
aphrodisia of height, the lusty way
he could stand on a stool and scoop
up stars like children catching butter-
flies. Nearer to Heaven than to Hell,
his life was the vertigo of clouds, a
constant splendor of looking down
on the world, surveying the runts
who mocked him, knowing all
the while he could hook an elbow
over the shock of moon, yank himself
up, and leave, climb out of sight
in the branches of blackest space forever.

Copyright © 2004 Ryan G. Van Cleave.  All Rights Reserved.


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