Defect

Defect

for Robin Radikowski

You were smart,
to slip out first.
I remember when boys
laughed at your red
face, the trouble
your kidney’s failure
caused when you didn’t make it
to Typing class, and I had no idea
that you died.
You were 12, and I lost it
in History.

Today, a blogger
called “homos”
victims of a birth
defect, and I thought
of you, Robin, sitting
at lunch with us.
I don’t know
if you were gay.
I always saw you
as sexless, really.
The champion
of delight: the only
relief from adolescence
came to you
as quickly as death
did, and I think, now, at age 40,
how I wish you’d come to
me again in a dream
as you did the week
you died, explaining why
you were still here, cleaning
out your locker, and making me
forget, once again, to be afraid
of this world.



From Cracked Planet, forthcoming from Negative Capability Press
First published in Third Wednesday, Summer 2014 

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