Beauty

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I learned to stop crying when Beauty died
The tears burn your eyes, make you nose steam up
Your emotions become parched and run dry like a river bed
It leaves your throat sore and bulky

Instead I became Animal
Pressing my raw tongue against my razor back teeth
Preparing for revenge, eyes black marble
Apache lineaments even, to distinguish my savageness

“Let her go!” I had screamed.
My shrill eight year old voice carried far, but none heard my cry of anguish
The devilish boys kept plucking out her feathers, and with otherworldly perception
I watched diamonds rain on her tender beak

Beauty was left on the sidewalk, trembling
I could not decide whether it was her or the wind simply shook her body
Beautiful girl, her wings were naked and ashamedly folded under her bosom
I embraced her gently in my arms,
Amazed that this was the first time I had ever been able to hold her without a struggle for freedom

So I stood on the rainy cobblestone street, innocent for the last time
A bird stripped of her beauty cradled in my arms, breathing for the last time
Wailing like a child who has lost her first love, to be heard for the last time

It was then I embarked on my crusade, ready to convert the nation
Or my ghetto neighborhood
Both equal in the valiance it would require me
I mustered up my strength, gingerly placed Beauty in a cardboard box, buried her underneath the clothesline, and set out

Charlemagne, they would call me
I raced down the pavement, chasing the last hazy remnants of New York sun
And found the devilish boys, chewing tobacco in an alley

I sneakily climbed the alcove of a neighboring house and peered down onto their short-cut black heads
A pocketknife was nestled in the safety of my locked palms
I fingered its sharp edge for just a brief moment, and then threw it down
Point headed towards the muddy slosh

A scream of anguish, utter terror, pain unrecognizable!
Almost parallel to that which I had mourned Beauty’s murder
The dagger had slit a boy’s left shoulder
And dropped into the brown grass, staining it a cold crimson

I scrambled to hide on the rooftop, and eventually found my way down
The boys were searching for me, I knew it
Panting, I ran to the left side of the road, where few passengers traveled
I hiked away, forgetting that I had a mother at home, a brother, a sister, one on the way
Because all I had loved was a bird named Beauty

I lived on the fray of society, catching trains, catching dreams that fluttered by me
Meeting people, making scandalous bargains
And picking fights often with other men whom teased me for my love of birds
I was Animal, predatory, stealthy at night

What did I lose that fateful night?
Beauty was gone from my life forever





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