The Sky, The Sky, The Wide Open Sky
We live in a box with the secret that we are not normal and
inside this toaster the air is always thick and ragged with
cigarette smoke and sweat and sharp words and spiked stares
that scare me, even though I am older now and male and should
be brave, unlike my nephew who came to play one weekend but
got so frightened his eyelashes fell out.
If I can help it, I don't talk to anyone, not even myself, but
at night there's a wide open sky and sometimes it winks at me
and I think that it must be God, and maybe all that glittering
is metal because God actually wears braces like Wanda Baker,
and that image makes me smile inside, thinking of God as a
gawky kid like me, maybe even with acne, maybe just starting
to get hair down there.
other day the television said all the cowboys had died. I
don't know what expression I wore when I heard that news, but
Mother's boyfriend threw a boot that made my nose bleed. He
said, "Not the real ones, you idiot."
not supposed to go beyond the electric fence that encircles
our gravel yard and boxy house, but each night I sneak out
with a flash light and hand shovel. I dig and pail dirt and
every evening I get a little farther. I'd take my sister with
but I know she'll only rat me out like the time I told her I
enjoyed painting portraits.
late summer it happens. I poke through the other side.
is the same sky as across the fence. There's not a thing
different about it. Still, until now, I've never noticed
how—if you draw a line between them—the stars make up letters
and if I string the R and the U with the N, it tells me
exactly what to do next.