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Photo courtesy of NASA

Poetry

To the Poem Trying to Crawl Out of the Boy At the Back of the Room:

By Anna Teresa Slater

Where are you going?      Stop. 

You’ve scraped up too many stars, releasing 

them into the air. They don’t belong there. 

           Look at him. 


His forehead is lost in the glimmery metaphors 

you’ve designed. You thought you would delight with 

bloom and flight and bared and seek,      but 


don’t you see that even the bones propping him up 

           aren’t his? It’s too soon. 


When he reaches his hand into his mouth to wring 

himself out of his own tongue, ride along. Be prepared 

with your whirlwind holler, your dewy joy, but 

           poem, 


that won’t be for a while yet. Look at him. He first needs 

to understand. Until then, simmer. 

           If necessary, sleep. 


There is space for you in there, next to the moon.

Anna Teresa Slater is a teacher in Iloilo, Philippines. She holds a master’s degree in Creative Writing from Lancaster University and her work is published in a variety of international journals and anthologies. The print version of her first poetry collection, ‘A Singular, Spectacular Chore’ is forthcoming in 2021.