I knew this brave, brave boy
through his mother’s Facebook posts.
She’s my husband’s
second cousin, worlds removed.
The pain malignancy inflicts
traverses time and space.
It lingers like stale smoke, and hides
behind the cheerful poses,
brightly lighted Christmas trees.
A bald kid playing MineCraft
from his steel hospital bed,
each game perhaps his last.
Two weeks before he died,
Ethan lost a baby tooth:
a poignant touch of normalcy.
And if they could, the fairies
would have left a lifetime, not just coins,
beneath his pillow.
Some say he’s in heaven now.
For me, he smiles from online albums
clicked on far too many times,
as if my restless fingers had the power
to lure him back from death.
About the Poet:
Barbara Saxton has worked as a translator, financial consultant, and educator. She is now a retired English teacher, singer, dancer, relentless outdoor enthusiast, and published poet (Dual Exposure – 2015 – and various literary journals/anthologies).
She lives in Mountain View, California, with her husband Owen and a cat named Kolo. Their two adult sons reside in San Jose and San Francisco.
Poetry Breakfast accepts submissions of poetry and poetry related creative non-fiction year-round. See our Submission Guidelines page for details on submitting your work.