The Prince of Nod

I am a young boy, waiting in the reeds. I crouch and make myself as small as possible, trying not to disturb the small creatures. The soft light of my home ripples in the pond as my mother calls me back inside. I’ve been trying to collect bullfrogs in a small inflatable pool; up to my ankles in mud. The green leaves are as fresh as they can be and in the distance, a faint thunderstorm echoes mildly like knocking on a soft, dead tree. The water in the pond has baked in the sun all day and remains warm to the touch while I run my fingers through the tall grass that extends out of the banks.

Up the hill, my family prepares the dinner table out on the porch; a chandelier of candles drips intermittently and the wax solidifies onto the glass table top. I take my time walking up the drive, cool blue and fresh green painting a summer’s night with fireflies sparkling in the valley between our house and the neighbor’s. Nothing could feel more safe.

I have trouble remembering how perfect it was then, my family was whole – no one was sick or separated. This was our castle on the hill and we ate dinner that night in a suspended oasis, covered from the storm by a plexiglass ceiling fixed to the side of the house. I was lucky. I don’t feel that way as much anymore.


When I was a kid, I would look into the mirror when no one was home.
I looked until I wasn’t sure who I was.
Until I forgot about time.

I would look into the mirror and try to imagine myself when I got older.
I tried to imagine what an 18 year old me would look like.
I wondered if a 30 year old me would be successful.

I was fascinated by the feeling of looking into my own eyes,
And falling out of my head, almost as if I was fainting.

I don’t look at myself in the mirror like I used to.
When we get older, we just look in the mirror and convince ourselves
That we are handsome and pretty and worthy.

We tell ourselves those things because the world is screaming so loudly,
That we are ugly
and unfortunately, we all seem to believe that.


Leaping, the little ghetto ones try and touch rim.
The air between their weather-beaten sneakers
and the concrete is suspended hope.
They take deep breaths before each jump like
the sudden influx will lift them higher.
Higher is all they ever hope to be.
To them the sun never sets and each moment is
forever. One day, their feet will leave the
earth and they’ll never come back down.
I hope I’m there when it happens.
I want to see it.
When the little ghetto ones take flight,
realizing the rim was simply