walks toward the barren doorway for answers.
He finds voices hidden in the cavern of a shell.
The unfinished child sleeps restless nights with
no dreams, he fits in the tip of a dirty pinky fingernail.
A long train carries the unfinished child one life
to another riding cattails in wind. He resists opening
doors in daytime. It was a nightshade tomato he ate,
spit up into the soup served.
A festering wound, he refuses all tender. He demands
loose screws, goose-bump edges, unplugged sockets,
poems unwrapped. This child has no beginning,
no middle, no way to define his finish.
In a fix, every seam unraveled once thought
sewn. The bench caves in, the parachute pierced,
the thread hinges. No daredevil, at death’s door
the unfinished child comes to a white-out conclusion.
Awakened he slips into consciousness brokered
with teething, he sits in the oversized chair rocking,
around him adults, fast moving sensation. He absorbs
the curses of madmen with no cushion,
those whose stomachs keep hunger in a ballpark:
Meth, they avoid the ache for food. People in white
vans will come for them. The child expects, but no one
shows. It is a long time with little food or water.
His mother searches for bicycle parts. He waits
till death enters his heart like a poem.
The unfinished child exits, he holds the conch
to his ear, catches cattail pollen on his way out.
Julene Tripp Weaver lives in Seattle, her third collection of poems is truth be bold—Serenading Life & Death in the Age of AIDS (Finishing Line Press, 2017). An early poem was featured in theWriter’s Almanac; recent publications include River & South Review, Riverbabble, The Seattle Review of Books, HIV Here & Now, and Anti-Heroin Chic.