"Boy on Crutches"

A weekly poem, read by the author.
July 19 2011 6:54 AM

"Boy on Crutches"

Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Terese Svoboda read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.

Every third car in the car lot shines silver-with-roof-rack.

You press your goose caller, but nothing honks back.

It could be broken, or the car could be on 6. Wait here,

you tell him, his tick-thud echoing after

your every wrong turn. You ran two stops

to make his appointment, then you abandoned ship

willy-nilly, the waves licking, the waves

of concrete rising as the elevator misbehaved.

Every pew is filled on 6, all is silence.

No attendant, with godlike countenance,

just a family plodding with such purpose toward you,

asmirk at your obvious idiocy. You

go back for the boy, but it's the wrong bank.

Did he wander out or go game-deaf? Thank

god, on 9 the key fits, 9 is the 6, comics face down

in the back seat. You cruise 3 for him, done

with panic, your head thrust so far out of the car you almost hit

honks, and you graze a post. You sit

in park, you pen the stall number on your palm, you call and call:

Only columns answer. He's at the exit where you look last, al-

most crying, most un-dad-like, slipping, with blinks,

the ticket into the quick mouth for its automatic thanks.

.

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

Meet the New Bosses

How the Republicans would run the Senate.

The Government Is Giving Millions of Dollars in Electric-Car Subsidies to the Wrong Drivers

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Cheez-Its. Ritz. Triscuits.

Why all cracker names sound alike.

Friends Was the Last Purely Pleasurable Sitcom

The Eye

This Whimsical Driverless Car Imagines Transportation in 2059

Medical Examiner

Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?  

A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.

The Afghan Town With a Legitimately Good Tourism Pitch

A Futurama Writer on How the Vietnam War Shaped the Series

  News & Politics
Photography
Sept. 21 2014 11:34 PM People’s Climate March in Photos Hundreds of thousands of marchers took to the streets of NYC in the largest climate rally in history.
  Business
Business Insider
Sept. 20 2014 6:30 AM The Man Making Bill Gates Richer
  Life
Quora
Sept. 22 2014 8:07 AM Why Haven’t the Philadelphia Eagles Ever Won a Super Bowl?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Science
Sept. 22 2014 8:08 AM Slate Voice: “Why Is So Much Honey Clover Honey?” Mike Vuolo shares the story of your honey.
  Arts
Television
Sept. 21 2014 9:00 PM Attractive People Being Funny While Doing Amusing and Sometimes Romantic Things Don’t dismiss it. Friends was a truly great show.
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 7:47 AM Predicting the Future for the U.S. Government The strange but satisfying work of creating the National Intelligence Council’s Global Trends report.
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 22 2014 5:30 AM MAVEN Arrives at Mars
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.