I think of the children who will never know, intuitively, that a flower is a plant’s way of making love, or what silence sounds like, or that trees breathe out what we breathe in.
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my two favorite toys were a stuffed rabbit,
British grey and glass eyed, and a raggedy
monkey I called “Monkum” because my tongue
and throat strangled my words.
One flu-fevered night I soaked
the rabbit in vomit, and
I never loved him as much
again — no fault of his, just
unlucky cuddling. As for Monkum
he fell to puppy teeth a year later,
though I was done with him by then,
partly because I had learned
some bright idea of manliness,
but mostly because I was embarrassed by
the name I had given him.
Still, when I saw the stuffing
shredded out of him, a shameful
urge to cry came over me. Just fluff
gone yellow with age.
How obvious was the lie that he’d ever been alive.
How easily I’d abandoned love.
What chance do the small things of the world have?
If you heard my voice today,
I would sound like everyone else.