Spring 1989 • Vol. XI No. 2 PoetryApril 1, 1989 |

Dance of the Mourning Child

He opened the door to the kindergarten: hung his coat on a peg, unbuckled his boots, and rocked awhile on his heels. He rifled books for the porcupine whose only friends were an opossum with a broken tail and a nearsighted skunk who treated them like they were her offspring. He scooped sand from a pail into a truck. He pulled his lunch box out of his cubby and nibbled a sandwich and celery sticks. He woke in his usual sweat from a nap, then walked his storyabout Princess Badroulboodour, the apple of Aladdin's eye, all the way home to my lap. I asked if Neil used bad words again. He said no, he wasn't there, but anyway his mom and dad say it's ok. Where were the other children? No one was there and Mrs. Nobody wasn't there either. That's how it feels when somebody dies, I said. He rammed his face into mine. We both saw stars. When he stopped crying and wiped his nose on my sleeve, I asked if he wanted to split a doughnut. I'm thirsty, he answered, c

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