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Claude falls
pacifier lost
pick me up, I can’t get up
he wails


Claude hides in closets
eavesdrops on friendships
discovered and banished
he wails

Claude runs away
seeks refuge in trees
talks to birds, dogs
found, punished
locked in room
he wails


Claude reads at night
tales of wonder
watches movies
he’s a chainwatcher
bound for Guiness
sleeps all day
school books torn
he wails


Claude is silent
hides in silence
for ten years
speaks in gestures
from behind locked doors
on pages torn from notebooks
he wails


Claude collects scraps of life
tiny scented handkerchiefs
socks, facecloths, underwear
hides them in his closet
sorts their fragrance
after midnight
into little piles
sniffs them like a fieldmouse

nose twitching

Claude smiles

only the birds believe him
when he stops wailing

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© Johnmichael Simon



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