Another banishment
of-the-eldest-son story, he says
            he was the coal burning
his family’s hatred,
            the son who wouldn't stay

for his mother's madness.

He walked with the mute girl

            out of the locked ward
one summer afternoon into a field
            where she looked
in slow motion, pointed to the hills
            and sun, bent

down to finger one blade of grass,
            then another. She picked
a daisy.
            Flower, she said.

he took her back

locked her in.

Copyright © 2017 Susan Landgraf. Originally appeared in Kestrel, Spring 2017. Reprinted with permission of the author.