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The Boy from Sleeping County This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category.

I found him on a Wednesday, right near
the corner
on the street only bums and runaways strayed near.
The sky was a field of rye and poppies,
glimpses of sun poking out underneath.
he was there, sitting, sleeping, dreaming,
legs sprawled, arms shaking,
dark liquid eyes blank and frozen
like the duck pond beside us.
what was his name?
why was he here?
where were his parents, his home?
I didn't know

He just kept on fiddling with his hand,
pushing it against his red hat
talking about his brother who was
red-haired and left-handed.
his words were white clouds that
came so quick it almost made me dizzy,
that sort of muddled feeling you get from trying to stand up
after spinning round
and round
and round
far too long.

He asked if I knew
where all the ducks went
you know, when the ponds are all frozen over
why do they leave?
why can't they just stay?
why does anything, everything have
to change?
I didn't know

His fingers kept on rubbing his slacks
smoothing out edges that were already straightened
trying to prolong what was inevitable.
he still had his backpack on
and his tie was still tucked,
hands clasped together
like an anxious schoolboy
waiting for the bus.

But the sun had already set
streets quiet and empty,
hands chapped blue and shaking.
it was like he had sat here and never left
watching the endless buses pass him by
as if he were waiting for something,
someone,
anyone, to tell him
that he was not alone.

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

This work has won the Teen Ink contest in its category. This piece won the March 2014 Teen Ink Poetry Contest.




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BeilaThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
today at 3:12 am
Wow. I must say that I didn't take too kindly to Holden overall when reading the book last year--he just seemed in so many ways the kind of person I'd rather have nothing to do with. Reading this poem, I see him in a new light, and I can admit to a little bit of guilt. The thing is that he is very alone, truthfully, brutally, irreversibly alone. That's a terrifying truth to come to terms with. You've portrayed it skillfully here.
 
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