Stargazing By Carol Brown


stretched out under the stars
the night after our high school graduation
he paints a portrait of the man
he would be

he would be two iron chains
and a padlock
on the gate out back

he would be an army of buckets
to catch the rain
a new roof before next summer

he would be unbent binding
a blank page
a chalkboard scrubbed clean

an open road stretched out
a horizon, always ahead

two good legs
a pair of walking shoes

under the stars
he would be ten men
a solar system
and no apologies

years later
when he is only a shadow behind a star to me
i read the headlines
“Jurors Order 40-Year Term in Fist Fight Stabbing Case”
“Teen Guilty of Murder in 2012 Stabbing Death”
and Dan drops the word ‘psycho’
onto the table between us
like a casualty of war

that night
i watch stars explode over Boston
attempt name them
one by one
but am overwhelmed
by their numbers
and spend the whole night
crying instead

so many
we don’t know
have already gone

i would name him psycho
i would faceless-brown-boy him
fear to speak his name in silence
name no stars for his son

i would cry in that court room
scream at the reporters
with their buzzing microphones
swarming black flies arriving
before his body has even cooled
as it twitches
in the last throws of death

i would cry over his body

the girl,
the one he wrote all the poems about
is 5 months pregnant

in all the trial footage,
she’s sobbing into his sister’s shoulder

i never met his sister,
never really knew he had one

i find out later
the bump in her belly is a little boy

they name him Charlie

Charlie has a hyphenated last name
footie pajamas
and a tiny crucifix
all to himself

imagine him, 18
with his father’s gangly limbs
too big jaw
scraggly goatee
and soft brown eyes

imagine him writing poems
about a girl
and having no father except the one in jail

imagine him stretched out
counting stars
that have already gone

By Carol Brown


Born and raised in central New Jersey, Carol Brown is a performance poet, student and general bookworm based in Brooklyn. She is currently studying poetry and psychology at Eugene Lang College. Carol has been featured at the 2014 and 2015 New York City Poetry Festivals, the LaMama Experimental Theater, the 2014 TedYouth Conference, the Jersey City Slam and on Indiefeed. Her work can be found in Germ Magazine, 11 and 1/2, 12th Street and a great weather for MEDIA.


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