Jeffrey McDaniel

(1967 / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

The Boy Inside The Turtle


Yesterday was an extra-long day
for the boy with no arms
or legs. Neighborhood children
played outside his window.

A soft machine, they circled,
joined hands, closed eyes,
jumped up and down: shoelaces,
giggles moving in time.

One caught the boy peering.
The boy contorted out of sight,
his breaths lumped on one another
like cows in a mat house.

He twisted too slow. Look,
it's the turtle! The children
gassed like an audience
responding to a laugh sign.

He shifted his weight left to right
back left, again right,
then felt from his chair- a pilot
balling out of a crashing plane.

He was familiar with this
Falling. So was his mother.
She'd surrounded his chair
with six layers of towels.

He waited there like a spilled bucket
of green paint. When he no longer heard
any semblance of playing,
he called his mom for help.

Submitted: Thursday, July 14, 2005

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  • Raynette Eitel (7/14/2005 1:33:00 PM)

    This is unbearably sad. Good images to touch the heart. What is crueler than a child?

    Raynette (Report) Reply

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