Trumpet Boy

A Photograph

I don’t recall that face,
those dark and empty eyes,
thumbed-dough cheeks,
trumpet imprint on soft lips
and child’s snub nose.

But I remember the emptiness
into which he folded,
impenetrable to teachers and friends,
his railing mother’s screams
locked out, that locked him in:
the shame of growing up
no father to tell him how,
his personality
a shrunken thing.

Long drooping hand
trumpet balanced in its slender clasp,
gold braided bandsman’s tunic,
pale face and wilderness eyes,
all parodies of promise
lost in a thin falsetto.

Boy that never really aged
I killed you,
your dreams and aspirations,
fought for you but failed,
and ran,
and never saw you die

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