208 – Barnacle


He’s the trench-coat wearing kind
of kid who in his head hoists
a boombox in the rain to serenade
the love of his life.

He’s a goldfish-in-the-castle
keeping an eye out, hiding
behind a jungle mustache
and constant shrug.

He’s microscopes and magic tricks
that falter just enough to get you
to hope and fall. He knew all along.
You pull for him to be

the thing you’d expect: normalized
in some unclear way. Less honest.
More typically effervescent
yet opaque.

He’s who Darwin loved, maybe
was, the salted carbuncle clinging
to the hull, tasting the sea
without getting shipwrecked.

Temperature-taker, side-eyer
long-game-player, fantasizer
who might just make it out
of the box in his head, maybe

hitch a ride on a junk
to China. Uncover a lost city
and become a god to its people.
Return home to settle

the rocking chair, bar stool
in the back corner, nodding
without ever giving up much
nothing you’d never suspect.

He’ll die or disappear
with or without dates known,
just a long line carved
to keep us all guessing.

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