Do you have time or an antidote for scars?
What is your definition of pain? Suicide?
An estrangement? Toiling for oats? Two
hearts failing to beat as one? Perhaps it’s
color robbed from a youngster’s cheeks
or a pinball revolutionary committed for
over indulgence. Youth equaling torment:
a can of worms disguised as consommé.
This is what happens if that youth ages:
limbs stiffen, smiles obscure, become as
dangerous as glass footballs. Trust is a
four-letter word stretched to five. The
small, scratchy label attached to the back
of his shirt should read Handle with Care.
Instead, there’s Soak in Cold Water. Hang
Dry. Some labels just can’t be removed.
Robin Ray is the author of Wetland and Other Stories (All Things That Matter Press, 2013), Obey the Darkness: Horror Stories, the novel Commoner the Vagabond, the poetry collection Welcome to Flowerville: Poetry from San Juan Commons, and one book of non-fiction, You Can’t Sleep Here: A Clown’s Guide to Surviving Homelessness. His works have appeared at Delphinium, Bangalore, Squawk Back, Outsider, Red Fez, Jerry Jazz Musician, Underwood Press, Scarlet Leaf, Neologism, Spark, Aphelion, Vita Brevis, and elsewhere.