Dark burnished bronze skin
covered his whole lean body.
That was all he was wearing, standing
on the front lawn of the Montclair Art Museum.
He was a young boy, probably about my age
when the sculptor had fashioned him.

I stood there staring between his legs.
A small limp stick resting on a sack of marbles
where a slit was supposed to be.
All the leaves in the large maples rustled
like a grandmother coming upstairs.

He seemed comfortable wearing only himself,
oblivious to my gaze. I suddenly saw
words pass by in my head: My father is like that,
all the boys in my school are like that,
all the boys in my class standing right here!
How do they stand it?

My second grade teacher, Mrs. Lowe,
hurried us on. “Let’s go inside, children,
so many wonderful pictures to see.”

I dutifully stopped in front of all the paintings
and felt their colors wash over me, but what
I was really thinking about was outside:
how, just now, I had divided in two.

Published in Whistling Girls and Cackling Hens, Sandra Larson, Pudding House Chapbook Series, 2003