STAY GOLD, PONYBOY
soft light, gunshots, and a song
you can hear but don’t know where it’s coming from.
Someone says: “You got it wrong. Innocence is bullshit
and useless. When he says stay gold he means stay gentle.
That’s the real fight.” Camille yells from the edge when
I sink to the bottom, says: “Stop trying to scare me.”
I want to live at the bottom of the lake. I don’t want to
watch you turn rough. I don’t want you to watch me.
The little kids chase lightning bugs in the field. The
big kids are behind the barn learning how to grow up.
Barefoot and tender-mouthed and shaky-kneed, reaching
for things they don’t understand. January: standing barelegged
on the front porch. Someone says: PEOPLE DON’T ROT,
THEY HARDEN. You exist like nothing has ever touched
you. Where did you learn how to do that?