A Sad, Sweet Boy


He was a sad, sweet boy.

He was a sad, sweet boy with a needle in his arm.

We told him he was special.

We told him he had potential.

 We said we could point the way to his happy future:

"Look, Look. It's right over there," we said.

But he would only give us his sad smile—

The one that said he was in on the joke,

The one that said it was wrong to tease him like that.


His brother tried to say, “I love you.”

But the boy heard, “Don’t be like me”

Which, of course, meant he already was.

His sister said, “I love you.”

But the boy heard,

“Please stop fucking up. You scare me when you’re fucking up.”

His father said, “Do that” and “Be like this.

Then you’ll be happy.”

But the boy heard,

“I don’t like you the way you are.”


We took him by the hand

And we walked him down a hall

And pointed to the many doors we'd built

With their prizes and their promises

And their instruction books.

We said, “Choose any one. Look:

This one will make you successful.

This one will give you a purpose.

This one will keep you safe

And happy.”

But he found another way.

He chose a door with the needle on it

And until it clicked shut behind him

We thought we'd have another chance

To say one more thing—

That perfect thing—

That would take the needle out of his arm.