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Five weeks a year he came home,

ripping buttons off new shirts, clogging the only john

at going back. Grinning about the peanut cups,

shave foam, our gifts he’d sold.

Wouldn’t look you straight but great with numbers,

boy uncombed.

Mad for clocks. At five, he’d phoned for more to take apart.

They said the forceps stunted growth.

They said his mother was too ill to keep him.

The Sisters of Perpetual Hope gave up.

Thirty years at Sunland: He lived to leave and for the movies.

He told his great-niece she had Gloria Swanson’s birthday,

my wedding was the birth of John F. Kennedy.

He died at 44. Sunland closed.

His IQ was not what they supposed.









Written by Lesley Valdes

November 3, 2009 at 10:27 pm