Childish Things

No more talk of them, no more thoughts
of that shambling summer, of the noons I stole

into the barn, gripped the knotted rope and hoisted
my bones toward the rafters. No more words

for the way, woozy in the pew, I squeezed past
grown-ups’ knees, eased the weighty rear door open

and gulped with greed and relief the outside air.
Separateness was my sin, and it was continual—

the gerbil caged in my room whose teary bulging gray
infected eye made me turn from him, tell no one,

till he lay still and stiffened. No more of that
or of the shattered lamp and my subsequent silence,

the hiding, the hiding. Where has he gone,
that boy? He was not unlikeable, should not

have been scolded for what he did not know.
How would it hurt him now for me to tell him so?

Chris Forhan is the author of three books of poetry and a memoir. He has won a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship and two Pushcart Prizes and has earned a “Discover Great New Writers” selection from Barnes and Noble. He lives with his wife, the poet Alessandra Lynch, and their two sons, Milo and Oliver, in Indianapolis, where he teaches at Butler University. For more:

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