This Was Supposed to Be About Karl, But It Didn’t End Up That Waylisten to this poem
His name was Pompey but he was not the original one.
This one was tender about old swords but serious
when it came to storing the same sixpence
in his pocket from the trousers he wore before.
If you asked him, he might tell you
he was not a fathered boy.
At first, you didn’t know him
well enough to ask. Once you showed him how
to align a magnet on a skipper rock
you realized you had no need
to ask him, he would tell you everything.
You both knew what it was like to live
outside watching in. You both knew someone
from across the way and how they hanged
rag dolls by the hair, caught in bureau drawers.
This gave you both the shivers, but others
called them dauntless. This was a word
he had learned in a book you had read the night before.
Did a person really have to build a raft and float
the Mississippi to be dauntless? And what about
the people who didn’t? Were they considered
daunt? Until he showed up, there had been
no one you could ask.