Issue 154, Spring 2000
It is possible that he is not a boy at all?
By this I mean, or meant last night with the noise
keeping me up as it does these days, I'm foggy
in the mornings now, that's why I wrote it down,
this person might not be one of us at all.
I don't mean he's a girl, as one of our members
has suggested. We need only consider his profile
or the broadness of the shoulders in comparison
to his firm white haunches to see he meets
all criteria for boyhood as set
in the oldest of our records. Nevertheless,
I maintain he may not be a boy.
Consider his speech, or the lack of it, the low moans
and the whistles that might shatter my spectacles
right now had we not the foresight to gag him.
And we must notice his nakedness and remember,
though it might chafe it has been the law
for centuries that all boys must wear pants.
Before I bathed him, he was covered in dirt.
Before I bathed him, the dirt was so dense
that for all it was a second, firmer skin.
Boys as we know them do not have second skins.
He was seen climbing from the quarry
two nights before the children took the streets.
He must have been returning there when
(congratulations, constable) he was apprehended.
Finally, gentlemen, there is his peculiar shine.
Though less noticeable under our bright fluorescents,
this boy—if he is indeed a boy-gives off
a peculiar pale light like some insects make.
Last night in his dark cell before I washed him,
dirt had flaked and, projected on the walls and roof,
were the constellations of another hemisphere.
He is not a boy in the traditional sense.
If remanded to my custody today, right now,
I shall pursue the matter with all vigor.
Whatever his origin, I will probe the depths
of this conundrum, separate the truth
from bone, spread him beneath our own light.
I will open him and pull out all we need to know.