Chelsea Dingman


As crazy as your old man, they say & he listens,
my brother, he listens when they say the world's
a soft & gentle place for a boy, but not this world,
when he tries to kill my mother, nothing hurts him
so much, when her boyfriend pins him to the fence
like a crow in a cemetery, the world can't explain hate
that lies down in a man, a war that lies down in a woman
in a boy in a family, when he's the boy in the ambulance
& the ambulance driver, my mother laid out in the back
seat, he thinks the world is a hospital, each house
he passes housing someone dying, when he smokes,
it is to breathe like our father, & when he beats
my mother, it is to be closer to our father,
when he gets drunk, he dreams about being loved
like the world loves a boy with a lawyer or a doctor
for a father, he dreams he is loved like a bullet
that loved our father back, in the garage,
on his tenth birthday, when he dreamed he was
G.I. Joe, when the world wasn't yet the hurt
of a bullet, but a bunch of boys gathering
on the lawn to pretend they were soldiers,
to pretend that some soldiers survive.