The Difference Between Falling and Flying


I never kissed Karl,

but he shared his sandwich with me once.

I was eleven. He was a man of fifteen.


I never took off my clothes for Karl,

but I thought I would,

under his grape arbor, dripping with sugar.


Karl never touched me

except when he dragged me

up the stairs to his pigeon coop.


I heard them flutter and coo,

Karl’s pigeons,

trained to fly home.

They wore silver bracelets on their scaly ankles.


Karl never hurt me,

but on the roof, his eyes got funny

when he said my name.

He said I did things to his body.


Karl leaned close and told me what

he did to his sister. I stopped thinking

about taking my clothes off,

and thought instead of cages, and being lost.


I still remember

the taste of those purple grapes

and his name, Karl.

Karl with a K.

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