The streetlight hovered
over the beaten
, desolate black road, casting yellow light that fell reluctantly to the ground.
Like a balloon, three days after valentine’s day
kept in the corner of a young boy’s room
bought but never given away
and crashing to the earth
in slow motion
The streetlight was connected to an old, giant, wooden pole
that was falling apart a little more each day.
Filled with cracks and holes.
Praying to just be buried
, and finally allowed to rest.
The pole had one piece of paper
The paper was decomposing
It was stapled to the pole forty seven times
Jagged silver teeth
Or crooked silver stitches
that sunk deep into wooden flesh,
begging, “Don’t move me. Please, please, don’t tear me down.”
There were two things on the paper: A picture and some writing.
The picture might have been as old as the streetlight. It was a real picture.
“Only touch the corners
The people behind this must not have owned a printer.
It depicted what might’ve been a birthday
party. There was a man, standing in front of a waist-high table, next to a heap of shining presents, cutting a large cake, wearing sunglasses on his head, and laughing.
Behind him there was green grass, spreading glorious and happy in the sun.
Next to him there was a house.
White and complete
and looking brand new.
Next to the cake there were the tiny hands of a little girl in a pink dress with a bow in her hair.
Tiny hands that were grabbing the table and pulling the little girl up onto her tip toes so she could see the cake.
See the presents.
And she was smiling like fireworks
Someone had circled the man with a sharpie marker
The bold black of the circle was the same black as the curly, cursive handwriting.
One sentence and a phone number.
“Have you seen me?