Real Child

Letitia Trent

We are asked if we’re willing to risk danger in the form of Skittles, one poisoned, as the child remains always facedown in a pool of shallow water washed up from the broken boat, I say child as though there’s one but there are thousands without photograph, here’s a handful of Skittles, you might get a bad one, would you risk it? Some call it fake news, not a real child, who knows if that child was gonna grow up to be one of them, a comment says, one of them and not a real child, what if that child held hate in his heart like a gun, he’d only have to reach in and retrieve, would you risk it? Meanwhile my child propulses down the slide, he is here and I touch his small body, a miracle, a mundanity, my real son, I see him moments before the boat explodes apart on a jut of rock, before the hospital wing disintegrates, the housing unit’s blown open, the wedding party scattered, a real child thrown from my arms, a real child who might have hate growing in his heart, a child who might someday reach and find a gun, a real child wheeling his arms away from me, it’s only been a moment but he’s gone and I cannot touch him again, a Skittle in the dark, a bad one, would you risk it? For a child, not a real child, for my son, for the dead child who has nothing, not even hate in his heart.


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