Reaching Past Silence

It was the summer we had to be smaller
than towns where boys with pretty smiles
get their teeth knocked out.
To be blood brothers we rub our cuts together.
Where does rubbed blood lie?
How many of us are there now?
Are you my blood?
A new life, another cut.
I grow woozy at the prescience;
my mother’s bible, the pulsing vein in your dad’s temple,
our limp wrists an inadequate defense for the plague.
The cancer from above must be righteous, to them.
It’s no secret that we hide under our skin,
and then you see it.
A stop sign, a fire truck, a warning,
it blooms like roses on the pavement.
They commemorate us, now that you’re buried.
Does a moment of silence reach the silenced?
They won’t see what they haven’t witnessed,
can’t commiserate unmentioned kisses.
My unintended sorrow never escapes your lost eyes.
These lesions are still pitted with wishes you left in the sky.
Blood brothers never needed a ruling,
or witnesses, or absolution, or thanks.
Our friends, since passed, already are our saints.

—Joe Babcock


Joe Babcock’s poetry has appeared in MockingHeart Review and The Night Heron Barks. He is the author of two novels, The Tragedy of Miss Geneva Flowers and The Boys and the Bees. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with his husband, Dan Freeman, and their dog, Lucky, a.k.a. Little Missy.

Image by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay