So Cute

by Brent Short on October 6, 2012



Just as the boys
closed in on the playground’s inner circle,
crowding in near enough
to recognize
each of the schoolgirls’ features there,
they began nudging their classmate,
taunting, “There she is!”

Shame-faced, picking up
a handful of snow,
he shaped it into
the form of a weapon.
After the ice ball struck her
in the cheek, he began running:
the first steps of a journey
into the land of wandering.

All that night, he had to
make an effort to keep her
bewildered expression out of his mind.
Even through a mask of torture,
she was so cute, reaching up
to the reddened place set on fire:
her face twisting
in convulsive fits of sobbing,
her breath catching, escaping,
in fine puffs of steam.
He had gotten too close.

At first a stabbing,
too blindly wounding to consider
or negotiate, growing into
that haunting, familiar ache
of desire’s beginning;
it wasn’t until many years later
that he realized this was
his first decisive encounter

with beauty.

Brent Short

Brent Short lives outside Tampa and works at Saint Leo University as the Director of Library Services.  He’s been a contributor to Sojourners, Radix, Mars Hill Review and Inklings. His poetry has appeared in Eads Bridge Literary Review, Windhover, Tar River Poetry and Sandhill Review, and still holds up “The Waste Land” and “Four Quartets” by T.S. Eliot as the towering achievements in modern poetry that the rest of us can only aspire to.


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