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Cupboard Love

for eight years we didn’t speak

eight years! that represented

forty percent of his timid life


communicating in sign language

and scribbled slips of paper and

in desperation “tell him this or that…”


shy tree climber, swaying mantis

his teddy bear brother had all the best friends

and he was lonely, hungry for company


hid in the cupboard, quiet

as some hibernating frail insect

alas, discovered, beaten blue and black


thrown out all sprawling wings and legs

door slammed on his misery

as compensation I took him to a movie


get him a haircut first, she said

and some new shoes, look at him

his clothes, his hair, his dirty face


all outside looking she was;

he sat twitching through the trim

eyes on the clock, calculating


at the shoe shop he balked, I insisted

he resisted, all tears and helplessness

(he would spend nights glued to the TV


weeks he didn’t go to school

behind locked door, movie after movie

consumed yet still starving)


eight years he didn’t say a word

not a single syllable, take your fucking

money he said throwing the coins


on the shoe shop floor, I’m going home-

barefoot he walked home, eight miles

one for every year of silence


he’s thirty three, lives with his mother

lost his job again, watches the movies

creep across the screen, life’s ok he said


he has the sweetest smile in the world

like a little cherub, waiting somewhere

in a cupboard to be invited to come out

and join the game

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© Johnmichael Simon



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