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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 6, Number 2, June 2012

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Brian Zimmer
Midwest USA


Deflection

The little boy was different. He could not do as he was told. He tried but misery followed every attempt. At first the risk seemed worth the repercussions.

from his bed
the furnace hums
or the spring lilac
blooms beyond the screen . . .
footsteps down the hall

They spoke of sending him away. His need for discipline, for boy games. He was meant to overhear. He loved them so much and they terrified him. He was only six but beginning to figure things out. There were limits and the consequences for overstepping were swift and fierce . . . "forgive us our trespasses."

miles
across Ohio's
cornfields
two distant steeples
two different towns

Caught by a neighbour, he was made to wait in his room until his father came home. It was a storm she watched hurl itself through the room at her invocation. Her hand flew to her mouth unprepared for the clap of thunder and flaming cheek, the voice of humiliation out of the whirlwind: "You are a boy!"

That was the last incident, as if the spirit had been exorcised. Or perhaps he had merely grown-up and out of it as predicted.

Early conduct marks read: "chatterbox", and later: "source of disturbance". He had become a crowd-pleaser and the punishment was mild.

patter
a distraction:
"look there . . . "
the magic works
". . . now here"

long listening
the mockingbird
learns
to disguise
his peculiar song

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