Matthew Bergey, Crying, 2017
Oil on Gesso board
11 x 8"

America is ripe with a glut of boys.
They fill up our kitchens like ants
and carry bread away in their jaws.
Our highways flood with boys
who spill into rivers, displace female trout
and leave grizzlies snapping at air.
Women write poems for their sons
because the mountain range outside
is a pile of boys stacked one upon the other,
snow gleaming on their backsides,
trees like wet green arrows
leaning toward their open mouths.
Women write poems for their sons
because there is nowhere else to put them,
buildings burst at the rafters with boys,
we don’t know where they belong
with their plastic dinosaurs and slingshots
and swords, their pocketknives
and bullhorns and recliners and scotch.
Mothers approach blank paper
while boys tumble from laundry sacks
and slide down banisters into the ink
where daughters must be mined in darkness
if they are to be found at all.
We send canaries into poems, don’t worry—
they return with girls’ voices in their beaks.
Our boys turn into men who promise
empty spaces for our sons.
Someone suggests the open desert
and you can hear us consider it carefully
under the sound of boys bubbling in teapots
and hopping from our toasters.
Across the street, a pipe bursts.
Even the woman who whispers a prayer
for her daughter writes a poem for her son.


Abby E. Murray