Seldom does one see a coming-of-age story as stark and as inventive as Marc Frazier’s award-winning poem.
He did it by the storm cellar.
He filled a bucket with water, set it on the ground.
We couldn’t think of one reason
to drown little black birds.
When my sister cried, he said it had to be done.
We said we would never grow up,
that we would rather die.
We did not watch so we never knew where he put
the bodies. But his hands became powerless to touch us.
She belonged to his world in some things
and we avoided her for it,
this strange woman whose hands
were always leaving her side to create space,
to move things about, to bring something warm to her breast.
The next morning he cooked bacon and eggs.
He stood motionless but for one arm
scrambling eggs while mother
with fluttering hands prepared a table.
Originally appeared in Primavera. Winner of an Illinois Arts Council award for poetry.
Reprinted in Northwest Cultural Council Poet and Artist Chapbook, 2014.
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