The Boy, Crying

The old woman,
with gnarled hand,
passed the dark vial
over the threshold.

Inside the fount,
a rank substance, vile,
terrifying the young boy
whose hands gripped it tight.

The giving of the vial
was the final sign
that the old woman
was about to die.

The boy stood
at the door, crying
with his eyes wide open.

The boy
had a bandage
on the top
of his head.

The old woman,
with tall body
and large scar
crossing her face,

her gauzy, grey eyes
focused on forgetting.

She pulled the bandage
off of the boy’s head.
From the foul wound
protruded a string.

The old woman pulled
the thin, wispy string
and the little boy cried
aloud in dismay.

She pulled at the string
until a small, silver stick
came out of his head.
It was a rare instrument.

“You’re supposed to play it
just once, fair and free!”
the old lady shouted
with authority.

“I can’t possibly
be responsible
for any mishaps!”

The boy was frightened,
yet he dare not make a move.

“You’re supposed to play it now!”
she frantically yelled,
“Stop wasting time.
Play or die and play well!”

The young boy stared
helplessly
sobbing,
shaking, unsure.

And when he looked up
at the woman once more…

Such an old woman,
with her grey, saucer eyes
and what frightening grin
came then to her face.

The young man stared
in salt-stained disbelief.
She was so beautiful,
his talented wife.

So he played the silver stick
and he played it some more
and he left the little boy
crying there at the door.

The Boy, Crying