There Is No Audience for Poetry
They wanted him to stop kicking like that— it made their eyes corkscrew, drilled the sun in the sky so light dumped out like blood from a leak. The boy in the trunk wouldn't die. They drove and drove, and he dented the trunk's tight lid, called their names, then pounded the wheel wells with a tire iron. The sun filled their skulls so they felt like hell and the boy in the trunk wouldn't listen. You'd think it was burning hot in there, you'd think he'd be gone, passive, but no. The boy in the trunk banged on and on until the noise grew godalmighty unforgivable and they had no choice but to pull into the woods, leave the car, try to hitch a ride with someone quieter, someone who could listen without interrupting. They'd had a hot day. The road simmered to the overheated sky. But from far away they still heard him, the boy in the trunk, his empty cry.
From National Anthem by Kevin Prufer. Copyright © 2008 by Kevin Prufer. Used by permission of Four Way Books. All rights reserved.
Kevin Prufer is the author of six books of poetry, most recently How He Loved Them (Four Way Books, 2018) and Churches (Four Way Books, 2014). He teaches at the University of Houston and lives in Houston, Texas.
Date Published: 2008-01-01
Source URL: https://poets.org/poem/there-no-audience-poetry