A child of three, rocking back and forth
Back and forth, not knowing what he saw
A bed with rails for the baby’s sake
Grim bars preventing the boy from finding,
Finding the warmth and comfort of Mother’s arms.

 

Brooklyn in sixty-six, summer sweltering,
Sweltering from a mild fever, sent to rest.
Entombed in the hated cage with no escape.
Lying in funk, salty dripping in puddles
Awaiting comfort of slumber, never to come.

 

The second floor windows, grime-coated glass
Glass blocked from view by curtains of muslin
The setting sun promising false breezes
The windows cast open to tempt them
Nothing disturbs the child or the curtains

 

The curtains, the curtains, thrown aside
Hands of unseen people, waving
Waving in mid-air from the second floor.
The curtains fall back, the child holds breath
Unsure of what he has seen in the room with the cage.

 

Again, the curtains splay, drawing attention
The boy turns and buries his head in sweat and pillow
Peeks one eye and sees the hands again, waving
Waving in wild abandon, calling him forth
Towards the open window, to see what lies beyond.

 

The scream eaten by the pillow, a panic settles in
Push back to the wall furthest from the hands
They stay this time, back and forth, back and forth
Beckoning the child to go beyond, to see what if
What if gravity could free him from the cage.

 

The voice is released from the confines of the bed
Shouting and cries to ward off the dead
Footsteps approaching, the hands ignore and wave
Wave until the door bursts forth and Mother comes
Rescues the child from the hands beyond the window.

Iron Noder 2017

 

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