Stevieslaw: My poem, Untethered, on Street Light Press

My poem untethered was published today on Street Light Press.  Here is the poem and the link.

By Steve Deutsch

We all knew something

was not quite right with Mike.

What sprang from his mouth

had him spending more time

in the Principal’s office

than in the classroom

and angered the older kids,

who would periodically lay him out

in schoolyard beatings.

 

1967,

the year we turned 16,

he climbed the fifty-foot maple

just outside the Post Office

and neither his father’s threats

nor his mother’s tears

could convince him to come down.

The fly-catchers got him

and took him upstate

to the red-brick asylum

on the river.

 

Mike told me once

he felt as if he had left

all solid ground behind.

“On good days I was drowning—

sea-slimed and salted

on a relentless ocean.

On bad days I fell through the sky

like a kite some distracted child

had let fly off

to be steered untethered

by a sorcerer’s wind.

I fell and rose,

and fell again.”

 

He got worse after he returned—

though I didn’t stay to watch

his downward spiral.

 

I see Mike now and again

downtown.

He lives in the half-way house

at the bottom of Gray’s Hill

and runs errands for a local restaurant.

We sometimes reminisce

for a moment or two

on the busy sidewalk.

Gentled now by the years,

he always has a kind word

and asks about old friends

while I search his weary face

for the child I once knew.

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