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"Prison-Childhood"

by Noah Cicero

 

She told me

“We have things in common,

We both like books, we both

Have the same profession but

Just in different departments, we both

Graduated from similarly ranked colleges

On the Forbes website. It should

Have worked.”

 

I didn’t believe her, I didn’t

Believe having things in common worked.

 

The pain had to be in common,

The flavor of the pain, the texture of the pain,

The flower of the pain, the tyranny of the pain,

The wounds, required correlation,

If your arm was cut off by a sword, you have to find

Someone else who has been cut down by a sword.

If a shark bit into your stomach, you have to find

Someone else who is experienced with shark attacks.

If your life was easy, and all you got was a bruised knee,

You have to find someone else with a sprained wrist.

 

Shark attacks can’t love broken collarbones.

 

But me, I got prison-childhood. I was in prison,

Brutality, Genesee beer, Ativan, Xanax, wedgies,

Screaming, violence, silence, sitcoms, beef, sugar

And a rooster wouldn’t stop attacking me. I eventually

Killed that rooster with a BB gun, watched it flap,

Ever watch a rooster scream? I have, my father and I,

Buried the rooster in the backyard.

Ever watch a rabbit scream? Seen that too.

No one wanted to help me do my math homework.

 

It is hard to find that type of pain. I found it once,

I really found it. But I had to let go, she wasn’t ready to let go yet.

Now, I’m at a Starbucks, looking for my prison-childhood-lover.

 

Noah Cicero is the author of the poetry collection Bipolar Cowboy and several other books.

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