When they found the teenage boy who had been

lost for three days after skiing off the trail


during a snow squall, he did not speak of crow

wings feathered into a vault around him or how


the wide ice of his cries returned to him as heated

echo from the plumed walls of shelter. He did not


grow, did not bark. He did not bend toward

the microphones held in the steamy bath his breath


poured forth. Cold and ripe his words fell out

like acorns spilled from oaks he’d slept under


but knew nothing of save for their dark

silences. All media gathered to ingest


the emptiness his body demanded the world hear:

I want a cheeseburger. Plain as a paper napkin,


while the cameras angled and the voice

recorders spun their electric nets, he waited.


And when the meal arrived he did not

see the arrival of it as greased in the emptiness


of the story and itself. He did not question

the rarity or temperature. He revealed nothing forest


perceived in his fearful visit up the wood.

Burger in hand, his wan smile like one bulb in a two


bulb lamp, he ate quickly but intensely, stopping

just twice, once for a swig of water, once to preen.


Scott Bade is a former poetry editor for Third Coast Magazine and editorial assistant at New Issues Press. His poems have appeared in Fugue, Shadowgraph, H_NGM_N, Foothill, and elsewhere.

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