Pine Mountain Cemetery VII

Circus clown, paints a grin, juggles with
Eye trick that take our minds from worlds 
Of pain we would not believe if told.

Kelly, a runaway, orphan, shock of golden hair,
Stocky, short, strong, angry, defenses always up,
Stormed her classroom and made sanctuary.

The briefest respite from the torture that cratered
His mind into chambers of forgetfulness. His stories
Took students, teacher, his world to another land.

He hid in those recesses that protected him
From blows from one who should have cared but
Instead sought release through Kelly’s stripes.

With his stories he bought a fragile fame,
A place to hide for time enough to heal and hope.
A tiny piece of his world held out a promise

Way too late to heal a broken boy alcohol
Soon found, and drugs and speeding cars.
College classes too weak to hold the damage.

Red balls of pain, fear, anger spiraled beyond
His reach. They sent his body back. Teacher
Found a place for what was left of the clown
With a song too sweet to save the child.

Thornton Wilder could write the boy’s cover
Stories told in this cemetery to those who rest
near him in his uneasy sleep.