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The Boy

A small windowless house in the woods.

An old man, his glasses propped on the crown of his head

painting wooded landscapes entirely from memory.


One day I found him there

gripping in one hand a bar of soap that looked like dust

and a small shoan pipe in the other.


And so I stood staring at a hazy painting of a small boy,

standing in a stream,

trying to hold on to a wet fish


as the man sat against the far wall

desperately trying to fill the room with smoke.