the stuttering boy

in the classroom ©papa osmubal

in the classroom ©papa osmubal

the stuttering boy
peter bakowski

Caught
in the lasso
of the teacher’s stare,

he’s asked
the lesson’s
first question.

Sweat-stabbed shirt, fallen socks,
he stands in the aisle,
eyeing
the raft of his desk.

He doesn’t know
where to put his hands,
he doesn’t know
where to put his trembling.

Trying to answer,
he is hurt
by the thorns
of each syllable,
by the jail
of his mouth.

The class
look out the windows,
stare at the wall maps, ink on their fingers,
away from the boy
who cannot
even tell a riddle,
who falls
from the horse of language.

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