Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I Got Beat Up A Lot in High School

He says. He smiles. He's sweet,
has become a lovely, gentle person.
I probably provoked them a lot,
he says. He's still small and sensitive.
There were lots of pregnancies, he says,
and suicides. They would drive off
a cliff in their cars, he says, just outside
of Blissing, Montana. And one girl,
he says, didn't know that her car
had airbags and she survived the impact
against the boulders on the bottom.
When she finally came back to school,
they said she could never do anything right,
Or they'd shoot themselves.
They all had gun racks on their pickups,
he says. Everyone drank quite a bit.
There was one gay bar, he says, where once
he saw his statistics teacher, soused,
and trolling for sex. But that's the past,
he says, sighing, sanguine and philosophic.
Now, I live in New York City, he says,
surrounded by friends and I can't conceive
of what I must have felt back then.
I'm sorry, I say, for all this pain in your past
and wrap my arms around his beautiful body.
It's not your fault, he says, and smiles,
looking out from inside himself.

Christopher Murray