We Were Boys

Our people
used to use your people
as stools—for our feet, sure, but also
to sit on your bare backs and rest.

Our flatulence
made us shake with laughter.
What else could we do?
It must have been unpleasant

but our people were shit on
by the czar’s troops—or was it the English
lords?—when they weren’t busy
slaying our children.

We don’t like them.
But your people we always admired. We were boys.
We were well-fed. Our bottoms
were on your backs.




You imagine it was always there
in the ether like a radio wave,
a purple ghost, a hovering saucer
(or peeking through branches with Boo—
how did you live so long
without a clue?) but you couldn’t
hear it until you suffered
as you did, lost that precious
thing, fell from the sky
and survived. Now your bones
ache and there’s an old word
you just learned and a woman you love
you hardly know. The light
is finally clear and the bird
sings the same song he’s sung
a thousand times. You’re waking
in your own bed. It’s morning.