Somebody's alone in his head, somebody's a kid, 
somebody's arm's getting twisted—a sandwich flies apart, 

tomatoes torn, white bread flung, then smeared with shit 
and handed back to eat—I dog dare you, I double dog dare you...

Somebody's watching little shit friends watch little shit him 
climb to the crown of a broken-down cherry tree 

and throw cherries at him: now somebody's pushing 
somebody into a sprinkler, everyone's laughing, everyone's shouting

in that frenzy when a buddy's gonna get hurt, 
gonna get mad, gonna swing and swing from the top of the sky—

somebody's falling through trees shedding leaves, 
October light you can see through, 

somebody can't read the menu, can't find his glasses, 
can't remember most mornings his best friends' names—

somebody's racing just ahead of what it means to be "it,"
porch lights coming on, trees jumping out at him, 

and that nameless smell, smell of the highschool lunchroom 
mingled with formaldehyde when somebody does dissections, 

frog legs strangely human under the fine-edged scalpel, 
keeps making somebody waken, not certain anymore 

of what window, which door, voices fading to a spectral 
whine in somebody's ears, eyes calm, clear, the starpoint steeple 

piercing somebody's brain moving alone through mist, darkness, rain,
somebody's eye's, somebody's mouth cooling, hardening to bronze. 

Copyright © by Tom Sleigh. First appeared in Ploughshares. Reprinted with permission of the author.