Pharmakon

age 11, reading e.e. cummings

I ask the teacher:
Why can e. defy the rule of grammar?
“Creative license”, she said.

Wow! Even as a kid I understood
that kind of power
to rebel against the Capitol
to punctuate any order
to choose, full stop

I only wanted to know:
How could I get one too?

in the word world of children
language is everything
but all the pallets of grey
take years to unpack

like how
an incision is a fresh wound
painful and bled in the same vein
and a smile is mostly incisors

I used to think the home-less were house-less
not slept away in a second story
where the boarded up windows keep
the idea of people out

tucked beneath worn blankets
and torn sleeping bags
and more discarded
wrappers

a general man told me,
“when you wage war,
  you must expect some
  collateral damage”

but never spoke about how
through the gaps in the gable,
like a lapse in a fable,
the unseen still see

the same snow fill, up
the old spruce hill
where professors obstruct
a pure structural view

“in the word world of children
  language is everything”

it is so obvious to those
who eat the food that mothers cook
and never once, either
foolish or stubborn
tasted poison


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