If only cuts wouldn't bleed so much said the knife coming
out a little.
A child's smallness makes her eyes large, and as she grows,
if she grows too small for the fire inside her, if she takes
to leather as her second skin, the music she loves gets darker,
louder, more rebellious, more quickly obsolete, more
the soundscape of the disaffected teen who stamps her
smoke at the door to the tattoo parlor and goes, like music, in.
Welcome, says the wall of thorns and crosses and a lily
of stilettoes, shibboleths of the broken life that asks to lie
down in you, to be the crashed-out guest who sleeps whatever
bad decision off. The pierced among us know the lure
of being seen as unseen. A child is always hiding in plain sight.
A mother stoops to brush a daughter's collar for the camera,
and the girl turns her head away. On her throat, a small tattoo.
And suddenly the flash that jewels the black of her eye.
Any wonder the sensitive among us wear the face of sleep.
Look this way, says the voyeur of the future, and who are you
to refuse. Whatever the dream you had last night, the one
you did not, could not, finish, you can carry it only so far
before it breaks out in a rash of iconography or angry sex.
The ache of dawn feels like an argument that goes on long
after the words, your skin filling up with dreams that cannot end,
and so you see them in the movies, among the other dreamers
in one capacious dark. However far they sit from one another,
they project their pain onto one screen, one kid who lifts her blouse
for a boy with a needle, and looks at him straight on, her eyes
red and slowly closing, her navel iced to take the stud and bleed.
Author Bio: Bruce Bond is the author of twenty-two books including, most recently, Immanent Distance: Poetry and the Metaphysics of the Near at Hand (U of MI, 2015), Black Anthem (Tampa Review Prize, U of Tampa, 2016), Gold Bee (Helen C. Smith Award, Crab Orchard Award, SIU Press, 2016), Sacrum (Four Way, 2017), Blackout Starlight: New and Selected Poems 1997-2015 (L.E. Phillabaum Award, LSU, 2017), Rise and Fall of the Lesser Sun Gods (Elixir Book Prize, Elixir Press, 2018), Dear Reader (Free Verse Editions, 2018), and Frankenstein’s Children (Lost Horse, 2018). Presently he is a Regents Professor of English at University of North Texas.