"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

Frame Game

Hard Knocks

I was hit by a teacher in an East Texas public school. It taught me nothing.

Chief Justice John Roberts Says $1,000 Can’t Buy Influence in Congress. Looks Like He’s Wrong.

After This Merger, One Company Could Control One-Third of the Planet's Beer Sales

Hidden Messages in Corporate Logos

If You’re Outraged by the NFL, Follow This Satirical Blowhard on Twitter

Sports Nut

Giving Up on Goodell

How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.

How Can We Investigate Potential Dangers of Fracking Without Being Alarmist?

My Year as an Abortion Doula       

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 15 2014 8:56 PM The Benghazi Whistleblower Who Might Have Revealed a Massive Scandal on his Poetry Blog
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 15 2014 7:27 PM Could IUDs Be the Next Great Weapon in the Battle Against Poverty?
  Life
Outward
Sept. 15 2014 4:38 PM What Is Straight Ice Cream?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 15 2014 3:31 PM My Year As an Abortion Doula
  Slate Plus
Tv Club
Sept. 15 2014 11:38 AM The Slate Doctor Who Podcast: Episode 4  A spoiler-filled discussion of "Listen."
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 15 2014 8:58 PM Lorde Does an Excellent Cover of Kanye West’s “Flashing Lights”
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 15 2014 4:49 PM Cheetah Robot Is Now Wireless and Gallivanting on MIT’s Campus
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 15 2014 11:00 AM The Comet and the Cosmic Beehive
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 15 2014 9:05 PM Giving Up on Goodell How the NFL lost the trust of its most loyal reporters.