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Children of the Sun This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


Kevin and Andres
Christian and Philip
Kyle and Hunter
And me.

We did everything together
from dominating the basketball courts
with our sweaty laughter and smelly jerseys
to going over each other’s houses
and begging our mothers to make French fries
because that salt on our fingers was the best
but not better than the entire carton of ice cream
watching scary movies and making prank calls
all when the grown-ups weren’t around.

I was a boy in love with smiles.

And at the park during sunny days
near the oak tree on warm shady grass
I watched them in the brilliant yellow blaze
race and wrestle for a brown leather ball
until they flushed like apples.
Afterwards we rested under the purple haze
as clouds would wander over our lazy heads.
The soft tips of Kyle’s lips caressed my ear
as he whispered what those shapes could be.

I was boy in love with smiling.

But he got older and the clouds changed
into red corvettes with shiny steel rims
and the short skirts Sarah loved to wear
only cared for the scents in her hair.
As the sun glittered on the silver wings
of pigeons outspread among the clouds
I told him what I saw
but he couldn’t understand.
Kyle slapped me with the back of his hand
and the sun-glazed pigeons flew away.

Everyone stopped smiling

when I sat at our usual table the next day.
They all suddenly turned toward me
and stared
like jack-o’-lanterns with no eyes.
“Next weekend Kyle’s having a birthday party
but his house is so small someone has to stay behind,”
and I told them I wouldn’t mind
and that it would be fine
and what are friends for
and thanks for being my friend
and I wouldn’t cry
and I really wouldn’t cry
and what’s wrong with me
and I wish you wouldn’t cry
and I’m sorry
and I’m really sorry
I’ll only smile
if you smile too
smile
smile
smile

I was a boy in love with smiles

and I followed the girls to hide myself
in their fortress of gossip and obsessions
with the best-looking dresses and possessions
living in recollections of sleepovers
that of course they couldn’t invite me to
because I was a boy and boys aren’t girls
and I would stare at my naked body in the mirror
and there was a boy in love with smiles

all smiles except his own.

I often returned to the oak tree alone
to hold onto its smooth strong branches
and maneuver my flexible body
up the trunk until I reached the top.
The brown bark reminded me of muscles.
And once as I sat concealed in the leaves
there they were below me:

Kevin and Andres
Christian and Philip
Kyle and Hunter

lying on the grass, cigarettes in their mouths,
the smoke barely grazing the edge of my nose.

Even the clouds were smiling.

The sun disappeared behind the houses
and soon all I could hear was the sound
of laughter tangled in the branches
as they departed in separate directions.
I traced the constellations with my finger
and mistook a plane for a shooting star.
I wished I had someone to kiss.
A ladybug crawled on my hand instead.

I guessed for now
there was this.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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TannerA said...
Nov. 4, 2012 at 6:19 pm
Eh... It's written kind of sloppily. It's okay, I guess.
 
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